Saturday, April 10, 2010

The View From Nowhere

The objective of science is to be objective. Measurements, observations, explanations, hypotheses, theories, and laws should be free of personal opinion. Science should not depend on one's perspective, but rather it should escape parochial viewpoints. It should take on, as Thomas Nagel put it, the view from nowhere.

Some may argue that such objectivity is impossible. Others may contend it is not even desirable. Perhaps so, but nonetheless many scientists do strive for such objectivity.

Evolutionists, no less than others, claim their methods are objective. Indeed, evolutionists not only claim their science is independent of parochial viewpoints, they claim evolution is an inescapable, objective, fact, every bit as much as gravity is a fact.

This means that the scientific evidence, interpreted from a theory-neutral perspective, necessarily requires us to conclude for evolution. As Ernst Mayr put it, the fact of evolution is so overwhelmingly established that it would be irrational to call it a mere theory.

Strangely enough, these same evolutionists use subjective arguments to prove their point. As Stephen Jay Gould explained:

Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce. No one understood this better than Darwin. Ernst Mayr has shown how Darwin, in defending evolution, consistently turned to organic parts and geographic distributions that make the least sense.

This is about as far from objectivity as a science can go.

And stranger yet, after making such parochial arguments evolutionists accuse dissenters of their own crime. True, the dissenters make no such subjective claims, but evolutionists say they do so secretly. It is their religious beliefs that drive them, say the evolutionists, whether they admit it or not. Pay no attention to the dissenters—what they say doesn't matter, it is obvious they have ulterior motives.

In making these accusations, evolutionists are their own judge. They pronounce subjective arguments, such as religious claims, as scientifically out of bounds. They rule themselves to be non scientists.

There is an obvious way out for evolutionists. They can exonerate themselves with one simple move. All they need do is to prove their claim. The key to their innocence lies in the objective, scientific data. All that is needed is an explanation of why the scientific evidence makes evolution a necessary conclusion from a theory neutral perspective. Why is evolution true from the view from nowhere?

We probably should not expect evolutionists to produce this new argument anytime soon. For centuries they have been making their high claims that evolutionary histories are undeniable, and each time they invoke subjective, parochial, interpretations. In fact, the stronger the proof, the more subjective the premises. Religion drives science, and it matters.

161 comments:

  1. I agree that Darwinian evolution isn't science but neither is creationism. The real debate here concerning origins is on the definition of science. When will this challenge be answered? The Intelligent Design movement believes that postulating an Intelligent Designer is required in science. This is their greatest mistake.

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  2. Cornelius Hunter: Some may argue that such objectivity is impossible. Others may contend it is not even desirable. Perhaps so, but nonetheless many scientists do strive for such objectivity.

    Objectivity is a process by which various observers compare, contrast, and crosscheck through various independent means and methods, their observations, to eliminate, as much as possible, individual biases.

    Cornelius Hunter: All that is needed is an explanation of why the scientific evidence makes evolution a necessary conclusion from a theory neutral perspective.

    We start with Common Descent as it applies to most taxa, and Common Descent starts with the nested hierarchy. This allows us to order critical historical transitions so that we can then consider the circumstances of these transitions.

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  3. Common Descent doesn't expect a nested hierarchy.

    That is because nested hierarchies require progress- as in defining traits must be immutable and additive- and Common Descent is not like that.

    That you refuse to understand that proves that you are incapable of understanding tyhe evidence.

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  4. Well, instead of quibbling over semantics, we'll just simply define a pattern N, a set of elements such that each set is a subset of its superset. We note, trivially, that if we have uncrossed lines of descent, and then group each parent with its descendents, then they will form pattern N. Additionally, if we have descent with modification, then the traits can be objectively grouped in the same pattern N.

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  5. How are they a superset and subset?

    What prevents lines from being crossed?

    Also ancestor-descendent relationships form non-nested hierarchies.

    See The use of hierarchies as organizational models in systematics

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  6. As for quibbling- LoL!

    You don't even understand the basics of nested hierarchies nor the basics of evolution.

    Professor Allen MacNeill has stated descent with modification does not = progress, yet nested hierarchies require progress.

    IOW Zachriel it is as I have said- you are not in any position to assess the evidence.

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  7. Cornelius Hunter: Measurements, observations, explanations, hypotheses, theories, and laws should be free of personal opinion. Science should not depend on one's perspective, but rather it should escape parochial viewpoints. It should take on, as Thomas Nagel put it, the view from nowhere.

    Albert Einstein would have disagreed strongly, as is evidence from his ignorant sounding platitude: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

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  8. Shubee,

    Please explain how what Dr Hunter said and what Einstein said are at odds.

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  9. Zachriel,

    Do family trees also form that same pattern N?

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  10. Zachriel:
    Objectivity is a process by which various observers compare, contrast, and crosscheck through various independent means and methods, their observations, to eliminate, as much as possible, individual biases.

    What about group biases? Most of the scientific community is biased against any explanation that suggests intelligent agency has a role in the history of life.

    This is not an individual bias that is reflective of the human condition; this is an institutional bias that has been woven into the fabric of science.

    A possible explanation is ruled out in advance without any evidential justification. As Dr. Hunter keeps reminding us, the only arguments made for ruling out intelligent agency are religious arguments based on the scientists' personal religious (or metaphysical) views.

    Do not scientists have to know a lot more about ontogeny in the first place before they can determine how evolution can modify an organism in the second place?

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  11. Doublee: What about group biases?

    Douglas Adams: The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be, but we have done various things over intellectual history to slowly correct some of our misapprehensions.

    With different observers confirming observations, careful testing of hypotheses, and by using independent means and methodologies, we can minimize but not eliminate bias.

    Doublee: Most of the scientific community is biased against any explanation that suggests intelligent agency has a role in the history of life.

    That's not even a close case. There's just no scientific evidence to support such a conjecture.

    Doublee: A possible explanation is ruled out in advance without any evidential justification.

    Help yourself. Rule it in. But it will only be taken as scientifically valid when you can produce a hypothesis that entails specific and distinguishing empirical predictions.

    Doublee: Do not scientists have to know a lot more about ontogeny in the first place before they can determine how evolution can modify an organism in the second place?

    The more we know, the more confidence we will have in our theories. All the evidence thus far points to evolutionary processes.

    What's interesting about science is that its methodology allows us to draw tentative conclusions from limited data. This is important because if we had to know everything, we would never know anything.

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  12. Zachriel: We note, trivially, that if we have uncrossed lines of descent, and then group each parent with its descendents, then they will form pattern N.

    Joe G: What prevents lines from being crossed?

    Do you know what the word "if" means?

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  13. Yes, "if" means it- your premise- is meaningless.

    Also what is this pattern N?

    Just some post-hoc aribitrary pattern?

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  14. Joe G: Do family trees also form that same pattern N?

    Sexually reproducing populations do not form pattern N. However, if we were to trace just the paternal or maternal lineages, they would from pattern N. This is used in modern genealogical research.

    With regards to evolution, if a single population divides and becomes reproductively isolated, and can no longer cross, then we have uncrossed lines.

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  15. BTW there is plenty of evidence for ID for the OoL.

    However there isn't any evidence that blind, undirected (chemical) processes can do such a thing.

    There isn't even a testable hypothesis.

    As for "evolutionary processes"- you have been told time and time again that is meaningless.

    The debate is whether or not those "evolutionary processes" are directed or undirected- ie genetic mistakes/ accidents.

    That you continue to use ambiguous terms it further exposes your agenda of subterfuge.

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  16. Do family trees also form that same pattern N?

    Zachriel:
    "Sexually reproducing populations do not form pattern N."

    Then we shouldn't expect Common Descent to form pattern N.

    "However, if we were to trace just the paternal or maternal lineages, they would from pattern N."

    So pattern N is a line.

    Lines do not form nested hierachies.

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  19. Joe G: Yes, "if" means it- your premise- is meaningless.

    Ifs are used throughout mathematics. In science, ifs are known as hypotheses.

    Joe G: Also what is this pattern N?

    Pattern N was defined above, a pattern such that each set is a subset of its superset.

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  20. Joe G: Then we shouldn't expect Common Descent to form pattern N.

    We note, trivially, that if we have uncrossed lines of descent, and then group each parent with its descendents, then they will form pattern N.

    Zachriel: However, if we were to trace just the paternal or maternal lineages, they would from pattern N.

    Joe G: So pattern N is a line.

    If we group each male with his male descendents, or each female with her female descendents, it forms pattern N.

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  22. Cornelius: "The objective of science is to be objective. Measurements, observations, explanations, hypotheses, theories, and laws should be free of personal opinion. Science should not depend on one's perspective, but rather it should escape parochial viewpoints. It should take on, as Thomas Nagel put it, the view from nowhere."

    I think many would agree with this. Cornelius calls himself a scientist - but I wonder exactly what his contribution is in terms of measurements, hypotheses, theories etc. My impression in the short time I've been here is that he is very quick to criticize others but has little science to offer as an alternative. Until that happens, I think the debate is going to be rather stalled (and one sign of that is the repetitive nature of his posts which really has little new to say - and is mostly an elaborate argument from incredulity). It is one thing to say that there should be a "View from Nowhere"; my concern is that Cornelius refuses to adopt any kind of view whatsoever.

    If Cornelius believes that the evidence does not point to evolution, then give us some ideas (a hypothesis) as what it may point to.

    And as to personal opinion - I'm not convinced that Cornelius's own personal opinions are not an influence here. In fact on 3/30 Cornelius said: "I think supernatural causation played a role, because of the science." Despite attempts to ask Cornelius to clarify this and offer evidence, he has yet to do so. So we must assume this is little more than a personal opinion (influenced of course by his own pre-existing religious beliefs, particularly since his opinion is that this supernatural agent is the Christian God).

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  23. "Zach" : much Darwinian baloney learning hath made thee mad.

    Darwinism is so full of "filler" its like a Wendy's hamburger ad. "Where's the beef"?

    The ubiquitous filler is otherwise known as just-so stories that you people think are true because you have faith.

    There is no objectivity in Darwinian thinking because Darwinian thinking is circular at the root.

    Again, this is why Hoyle said Darwinists are mentally ill.

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  24. Joe G: Please explain how what Dr Hunter said and what Einstein said are at odds.

    Everything that Einstein said about science is irrelevant, except for what he learned from David Hilbert:

    "The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms." — Albert Einstein.

    Dr Hunter is mistaken for thinking that the God hypothesis is required for science at the present time, even though the idea generates no fruitful physical or mathematical concepts. The greatest error of the Intelligent Design community is that they reject the definition of science as given by the world's greatest discoverers of the laws of nature.

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  25. Shubee:

    ===
    Dr Hunter is mistaken for thinking that the God hypothesis is required for science at the present time, even though the idea generates no fruitful physical or mathematical concepts.
    ===

    So you agree evolution is bad science?

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  26. Cornelius Hunter: So you agree evolution is bad science?

    "I agree that Darwinian evolution isn't science." That's the first thing I said in this thread. I also agree that the word evolution, standing alone, is bad science because the term has many meanings so I'm not sure what you're asking me.

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  27. Shubee:

    "I'm not sure what you're asking me."

    Sorry, you said "Dr Hunter is mistaken for thinking that the God hypothesis is required for science...". I never said that. I'm arguing against such metaphysics in science, not for it.

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  28. Cornelius Hunter: I'm arguing against such metaphysics in science, not for it.

    Have you ever denounced the Intelligent Design movement for rejecting the definition of science as given by the world's greatest discoverers of the laws of nature?

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  29. Shubee said...
    "Cornelius Hunter: I'm arguing against such metaphysics in science, not for it.

    Have you ever denounced the Intelligent Design movement for rejecting the definition of science as given by the world's greatest discoverers of the laws of nature?"

    -------------------------------------------

    The world's greatest discoverers were doing operational science. Speculating on whether past events were due to efficient causes only or due to both final and efficient causes is not what they were researching. When we're dealing with past events that can't be reproduced and for which we have no good present analogies, we don't even know, scientifically, if those events are repeatable under "natural" conditions.

    To say those past events must have been "natural" is merely to advocate a metaphysical naturalism which rules out final causes even for humans (i.e., it is to rule out libertarian free-will for humans, themselves). If that's what you're advocating, then you're not arguing aposteriori induction. Rather, you're arguing about what are the proper axioms of induction. But that is a philosophical question, not a scientific one.

    By "theory neutral," Cornelius is meaning "metaphysically neutral". He is essentially saying that empirical science doesn't need to take a metaphysical stance about final causes as long as it can be determined empirically that the events being "explained" can be shown to be REPEATABLE under plausible historical conditions. That's how we would know in a metaphysically-neutral way that final causes weren't involved in the production of those events. Until then, metaphysics is doing the lion's share of the epistemological work for both sides of the argument.

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  30. If we could come up with a good theologicla explanation for the nested hierarchies, then wouldn't that remove nested hierarchies as a proof of evolution?

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  31. Jeff: By "theory neutral," Cornelius is meaning "metaphysically neutral".

    Dr. Hunter's defense of Dr. Michael Behe's classification of astrology as a scientific theory is far from being "metaphysically neutral."

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/02/real-conflict-between-science-and.html

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  32. Shubee,

    Was Behe meaning that certain astrological claims are analogical inferences? Or was he meaning it is a theory in the sense that the claims have passed requisite tests? I suspect he meant the former. And I suspect he agrees those claims have been falsified. And I suspect Dr. Hunter believes the same thing. The language is equivocal given how the word "theory" has been down-graded by macroevolutionists and others. So I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

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  33. Shubee,

    Another way of getting at the heart of what it means to be metaphysically neutral is this: Is it metaphysically neutral to deny that humans have libertarian free-will? I would say no. The vast majority of humans seem to naturally think and communicate as if libertarian free-will (i.e., final causes) is real. So that seems to suggest that the possibility of the existence of final causes is on the exact same epistemological footing as the possibility of the existence of non-final causes. So it seems to me that to rule out the possibility of either is to be metaphysically arbitrary for that reason alone.

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  34. Jeff: The language is equivocal given how the word "theory" has been down-graded by macroevolutionists and others.

    There is no question that the Intelligent Design movement excels at lowering the high standard of legitimate science far lower than all the most notoriously defective quasi-sciences.

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  35. laugh out loud: If we could come up with a good theologicla explanation for the nested hierarchies, then wouldn't that remove nested hierarchies as a proof of evolution?

    I assume you meant to write "a good design explanation". The fact is that the nested hierarchical tree is the ideal design method for classification, composition and control. It is used in every situation where organization is paramount: the military, the government, corporations, schools, etc. I happen to be currently involved in a software design project (project COSA) that uses a nested hierarchy as the only organizational framework for software components. The goal is to create a huge tree of COSA components stored in a distributed COSA database on the internet. The idea is that anybody will be able to use the database to compose any type of software application, turning almost everybody into a programmer.

    My point is that the Darwinist's use of the finding of nested hierarchies in natural organisms as proof of evolution is totally bogus. It is equally important to efficient design and composition. It makes perfect sense that a lifeform designer would have used a system of nested hierarchies to design a huge variety of living organisms. In software composition, it is called reuse. And it does not support common descent in evolutionist sense either.

    ID supporters should not allow evolutionists to get away with this nonsense.

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  36. I forgot to mention that there is also plenty of evidence for non-nested hierarchies in nature. Evolutionists dismiss them as parallel evolution. See Walking whales, nested hierarchies, and chimeras: do they exist?

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  37. LS:

    I was thinking something along these lines. God gave the human sovereignty over other organisms. So to mkae it easier for the human to understand the beings he is responsible for, God arrainged them in nested hierarchies. Just a thought.

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  38. Louis Savain: It makes perfect sense that a lifeform designer would have used a system of nested hierarchies to design a huge variety of living organisms.

    I agree. Anyone who is troubled by that would be troubled by anything. The real mystery is why God buried so many extinct species in a special order during the global flood, now seen in successive layers of sedimentary rock.

    http://www.everythingimportant.org/devolution

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  39. Zachriel:
    Pattern N was defined above, a pattern such that each set is a subset of its superset.

    Neither a patrilineage nor a matrilineage form pattern N.

    Zaxhriel:
    We note, trivially, that if we have uncrossed lines of descent, and then group each parent with its descendents, then they will form pattern N.

    That is false.

    I have provided a peer-reviewed paper that refutes your nonsense Zachriel.

    So what is your problem?

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  40. Louis Savain: My point is that the Darwinist's use of the finding of nested hierarchies in natural organisms as proof of evolution is totally bogus.

    First, try to avoid the word "proof." A single confirmation of a hypothesis is not necessarily conclusive. We have to consider the body of evidence.

    Louis Savain: It makes perfect sense that a lifeform designer would have used a system of nested hierarchies to design a huge variety of living organisms. In software composition, it is called reuse.

    That is incorrect. Human designers consistently borrow across lineages, and artifacts do not form a single, consistent, objective nested hierarchy, as do so many taxa.

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  41. Shubee:
    "The greatest error of the Intelligent Design community is that they reject the definition of science as given by the world's greatest discoverers of the laws of nature."

    That is false.

    The only valid definition of science is to seek the truth, ie the reality behind what it is you are investigating.

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  42. laugh out loud: I was thinking something along these lines. God gave the human sovereignty over other organisms. So to mkae it easier for the human to understand the beings he is responsible for, God arrainged them in nested hierarchies.

    Uncrossed lines of descent naturally lead to a nested hierarchy. We have evidence that this process is ongoing.

    Claiming that organisms were individually created, placed in the geological succession to match what would occur naturally is equivalent to Last Thursdayism. Or you could claim that God created the original setup so that organisms would diverge and descend naturally, in which case, God would be a scientifically extraneous entity.

    Your idea may have religious value, but not any scientific value as there is no way to distinguish it from plain-vanilla evolution.

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  43. Zachriel:
    That is incorrect. Human designers consistently borrow across lineages, and artifacts do not form a single, consistent, objective nested hierarchy, as do so many taxa.

    The taxa do not form a nested hierarchy because of descent with modification.

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  44. ZAchriel:
    "Uncrossed lines of descent naturally lead to a nested hierarchy."

    That is false.

    Ancestor-descendent relationships form non-nested hierarchies- just as the peer-reviewed paper states.

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  45. Zachriel:
    "Claiming that organisms were individually created, placed in the geological succession to match what would occur naturally is equivalent"

    Nested hierarchies do not form via blind, undirected processes.

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  46. So all Zachriel can do is lie in the face of overwhelming irrefutable evidence.

    Your parents must be proud of you...

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  47. Joe G: The only valid definition of science is to seek the truth, ie the reality behind what it is you are investigating.

    Richard Dawkins says pretty much the same thing but he is just an inconsequential pseudo-scientist in a quasi-scientific field.

    http://www.everythingimportant.org/science

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  48. Zachriel: Claiming that organisms were individually created, placed in the geological succession to match what would occur naturally is equivalent to Last Thursdayism.

    The problem is that there is nothing natural about the observed fact that "most fossil species appear instantaneously in the fossil record, persist for some millions of years virtually unchanged, only to disappear abruptly."

    http://www.everythingimportant.org/devolution

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  49. Shubee: The problem is that there is nothing natural about the observed fact that "most fossil species appear instantaneously in the fossil record, persist for some millions of years virtually unchanged, only to disappear abruptly."

    Sure it is. This was discussed in Origin of Species. You might read past the Introduction.

    Darwin: although each species must have passed through numerous transitional stages, it is probable that the periods, during which each underwent modification, though many and long as measured by years, have been short in comparison with the periods during which each remained in an unchanged condition.

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  51. Zachriel,

    Just because Darwin crafted his fantasy to match empirical facts already known in his day and pretended that his arguments were consistent and logical doesn't make it so.

    The miraculousness of the fossil distribution is purely a mathematical question that Darwinian evolutionists are incapable of answering.

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  52. Zachriel:

    If we find an explanation for the nested hierarchy other than evolution, the it ceases to be a proof of evolution. The main force of the arguement from nested hierarchies is that evolution explains why the hierarchies happened, and something else didn't. This is more intellectually satisfying than "God did it." Becuase God did not have to do it that way. But if we can find a reason for God to do it that way, it answers the question.

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  53. Zachriel,

    It is not true that generating a tree with nested hierarchy implies that there are natural causes that would produce that tree genealogically. That such natural causality was in operation to produce the tips of the branches of the generated trees is merely assumed. You would need to show causally 2 things to get there non-hypothetically:

    1) That there are genotypes that correspond to all the hypothetical phenotypes entailed in the hypothetical tree,

    2) That the blind mutational "search" through DNA space through the hypothetical genealogical "routes" (i.e., the hypothetical spatial and temporal specifications entailed in the generated tree) could occur with realistic probability in the posited time-frame,

    We know neither of these. Tree generation models assume these things. They don't explain them. Explaining it would mean modeling the tree by a tested causal theory. We are nowhere near that.

    In the meanwhile, teleological analogies are just as conceivable as the naturalistic one that grounds the hypothesis of macroevolution. Neither are testable. What the macroevolutionary hypothesis has going for it is that it is more easily doable, empirically, as a working hypothesis. But that doesn't mean we're anywhere near confirming it. We're not.

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  54. Shubee:

    "There is no question that the Intelligent Design movement excels at lowering the high standard of legitimate science far lower than all the most notoriously defective quasi-sciences."

    Many philosophers of science don't even know how to come up with "legitimate" demarcation criteria for science. How do you define science and "legitimate" science? To speak of "lowering" the standard, as opposed to violating it, seems to mean you have a pretty fuzzy demarcation criteria yourself.

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  55. Jeff: How do you define science and "legitimate" science? To speak of "lowering" the standard, as opposed to violating it, seems to mean you have a pretty fuzzy demarcation criteria yourself.

    I thought what I've already said is perfectly clear. My definition of science is whatever the world's greatest discoverers of the laws of nature have defined science to be. Specifically, I approve of the definitions by notable scientists compiled at the bottom of the page at http://www.everythingimportant.org/SeanPitman/.

    To justify there being two basic categories in science, I would only need to quote one exceptional statement on that list. "All science is either physics or stamp collecting." — Ernest Rutherford.

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  56. Shubee,

    When you say science is either physics or stamp collecting, I assume you mean that physics is that which is natural (i.e., no final causes involved). If that's what you mean, then it can not be true that BOTH God created freely (i.e., via final causality) AND that all scientific "explanation" is true. Is that what you're saying?

    This is the whole problem of metaphysics that Cornelius is talking about. Once you rule out final causes, you've ruled out teleology--both human and divine. That leaves only determinism and uncaused events.

    Is that what you're saying science is limited to? Because it is certainly not the case that induction is limited to determinism. People use analogical reasoning with respect to final causes all the time. They do it in court cases quite frequently.

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  58. Jeff: When you say science is either physics or stamp collecting, I assume you mean that physics is that which is natural (i.e., no final causes involved).

    No. Physics is the study of all mathematically consistent universes. A universe is a mathematical model that describes spacetime, matter, energy and their interactions. However, in real world physics, all mainstream physicists agree that all realistic descriptions of our material world are ultimately probabilistic and quantum mechanical at the core, so there is no doubt that physics solidly overthrows the deterministic philosophy called methodological naturalism.

    http://www.everythingimportant.org/naturalism

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  59. laugh out loud: If we find an explanation for the nested hierarchy other than evolution, the it ceases to be a proof of evolution.

    Science doesn't deal in proof, but evidence.

    laugh out loud: The main force of the arguement from nested hierarchies is that evolution explains why the hierarchies happened, and something else didn't.

    The main force of the argument is that there is a very simple explanation of a process of descent with variation that we can directly observe and verify through other methodologies. Just like the very simple relationships of force and momentum can explain the apparently complicated interactions between planets.

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  60. Jeff: It is not true that generating a tree with nested hierarchy implies that there are natural causes that would produce that tree genealogically.

    You have your scientific method rather mixed up. If life evolved through a process of divergence along uncrossed lines, then we can predict a complex set of data from the genetic to the geological. We can directly observe these processes of divergence and variation, and we can show that these basic processes worked in the past.

    Jeff: That there are genotypes that correspond to all the hypothetical phenotypes entailed in the hypothetical tree,...

    No. You don't have to show *all* of anything, or there would never be progress in science. We have to show that the data is consistent with the hypothesis, and then make predictions unique to the theory, preferably using disparate methodologies.

    Jeff: That the blind mutational "search" through DNA space through the hypothetical genealogical "routes" ....

    One doesn't even have to know about DNA to marshall evidence in support the Theory of Evolution. However, DNA evidence must be *consistent* with the theory—and it is. Indeed, geneticists consider the molecular evidence to be convincing.

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  61. No, Shubee. Physics doesn't overthrow determinism. The quantum hypothesis contradicts determinism. But it is just a hypothesis. It is not demonstrable. It isn't even completely consistent with relativity, much less prove that determinism is false. All scientific hypotheses are tentative. If they're not tentative, they are non-falsifiable. And that means they are just metaphysical claims.

    If you apply QT universally, you are ruling out the libertarian free-will of humans. To rule out libertarian free-will is to take a metaphysical stance. It's no wonder you guys don't understand what Hunter is saying.

    Claims are beleived apriori or aposteriori. QT is neither known apriori nor is it proveable aposteriori. The fact that certain things can only be known at the level of probability does not in the least prove they are, ontologically/metaphysically, probabilistic.

    For example, if something akin to the classical view of the late Tom Van Flandern is right, there would be a probabilistic nature of our predictions at certain levels of observation because of wave action even though the action itself would be deterministic at the relevant level of detail.

    Other physicists have made the same point by comparing QT to the probabilistic nature of the observed occurrence of lightning even though it was not doubted that lightning was produced deterministically prior to the advent of QT.

    Probabilistic observations don't prove the probabilistic nature of events. Indeed, if events aren't caused either by deterministic causes or self-determinism (i.e., final causes), nothing is actually predictable. We could only speak of what we have experienced in the past, not predict what will happen in the future.

    Indeterminism is just another way of saying that events don't have sufficient conditions for their occurrence. And that's just another way of saying events are not caused. And that's just another way of saying events are inexplicable. That they are observable and classifiable doesn't make them explicable.

    We could never use logical language like "therefore," "because," etc to "explain" events if events aren't caused. Because logic is just a way of articulating causal accounts of events, even when they are cognitive events that we account for by "laws of thought," etc.

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  62. Zachriel:
    "We can directly observe these processes of divergence and variation, and we can show that these basic processes worked in the past."

    We all infer that certain processes worked in the past. These processes don't imply or indicate that there are genotypes that correspond to all the hypothetical phenotypes posited by macroevolutionists, much less that those genotypes could have been searched blindly in the posited time-frame with any realistic probability.

    Zachriel:
    "No. You don't have to show *all* of anything, or there would never be progress in science. We have to show that the data is consistent with the hypothesis, and then make predictions unique to the theory, preferably using disparate methodologies."

    The prediction of the macroevolutionary hypothesis itself is that reproduction will produce all extant, fossilized, and hypothetical phenotypes by variation resulting from reproduction that began with some hypothetical common ancestor. There is absolutely no way to test that grand claim. Myriads of kinds and degrees of evolution could conceivably be possible and still be consistent with the fact that the grand claim is false and physically impossible.

    Zachriel:
    "One doesn't even have to know about DNA to marshall evidence in support the Theory of Evolution. However, DNA evidence must be *consistent* with the theory—and it is. Indeed, geneticists consider the molecular evidence to be convincing."

    There is no data that is only consistent with the grand claim. That is the problem. There are other less ambitious analogical inferences that are consistent with the same data. But there are no tests we can run out and perform to falsify any of them.

    Some of them may be falsified in time. But there is no way to falsify the grand claim. It is too general to falsify. It is literally a metaphysical claim for that reason. For it depends on the falsehood of competing metaphysical claims for its plausibility. Apart from just ruling competing metaphysical views out of court, we can't know that macroevolution is possible, much less plausible.

    The macroevolutionary hypothesis can, however, be used as working hypothesis. But one could just as easily do the same research under the banner of seeing what degree of biological variation can be caused by natural causes without committing to the metaphysically grand claim of macroevolution.

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  63. Jeff,

    Conclusions depend entirely on presuppositions. You are certainly free to reject the definition of science as given by the most prominent discoverers of the laws of nature and are also free to devise whatever personal philosophy you like to conflate astrology and Intelligent Design but don't expect to receive God's approval, even if you successfully get a majority of citizens to enforce the teaching of ID in public schools.

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  64. Shubee, how do you know that QT has God's approval? You see, you are right that conclusions depend entirely on presuppositions. But that's because deductive logic presupposes causality. Apart from causality, we could never argue in terms of "if ... then" at all.

    If QT is true, there is no causality and all pattern is mere coincidence having no explanation. This would imply that nothing is predictable. This would mean that science is just stamp collecting from what we believe (possibly erroneously) is past experience.

    IOW, it's one thing to try to come up with math to account for patterns we've already experienced. It's another thing altogether to suppose they have any implications about the future. The fact that scientists do believe they have implications about the future proves that scientists can claim events are not causes all day long, but they can't live that way consistently. They will always end up predicting the future based on past experience. And that is only logical because of causality. Otherwise, it is pure blind faith.

    And I'm not advocating teaching ID in public schools. I'm advocating the right to express an opinion and articulate other analogical inferences when there are no tests to falsify any, even in public schools if such questions are raised by students.

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  65. Jeff: If QT is true, there is no causality and all pattern is mere coincidence having no explanation.

    A mathematical model doesn't have to account for everything, including consciousness. It's perfectly consistent with Scripture for all the fundamental laws of physics to be ultimately probabilistic and quantum mechanical. Determinism, as defined in physics, is incompatible with Scripture.

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  66. Jeff: The prediction of the macroevolutionary hypothesis itself is that reproduction will produce all extant, fossilized, and hypothetical phenotypes by variation resulting from reproduction that began with some hypothetical common ancestor. There is absolutely no way to test that grand claim.

    Of course there is. Just like you test the hypothesis that gravity explains the movements of planets. Calling it a "grand claim" and saying that you can't prove that someone doesn't rearrange the planets when you turn your head isn't much of an argument, and is certainly not an argument with scientific validity.

    Jeff: The macroevolutionary hypothesis can, however, be used as working hypothesis.

    That's all you ever have in science, including the Theory of Gravity.

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  67. Zachriel: Of course there is. Just like you test the hypothesis that gravity explains the movements of planets.

    Jeff: We observe the motion of heavenly bodies. We don't hypothesize that motion. Within your grand claim, you posit tons of hypotheticals that have never been observed or modeled with known causality. They can not be tested yet. They may be testable some day. But they are not testable today.

    Zachriel: That's all you ever have in science, including the Theory of Gravity.

    Jeff: There's a difference in saying that a hypothesis is a working hypothesis because we may find a way to account for more data with greater explanatory breadth than we can now and saying that a hypothesis is a working hypothesis because the events it supposedly explains are themselves hypothetical, having never been observed or modeled.

    IOW, explaining observations by the model that seemingly provides the greatest explanatory breadth is one thing. Assuming that hypothetical events occurred so that your model becomes, thereby, the one with the greatest explanatory breadth is another. Hypothetical events are neither observations nor modeled events.

    As such, your hypothesis is just like the ID hypotheses. They are merely analogical inferences about the causes of events that occurred in the past and can not be repeated or modeled--at least as of now they can't.

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  68. Jeff: Shubee, how do you know that QT has God's approval?

    I rather rephrase my claim as follows. Quantum theory is consistent with a fantastic number of experimental observations and a sensible view of Scripture but the Intelligent Design movement dismisses the predictive power of modern physics and conflates astrology with it's own philosophy.

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  69. Jeff: IOW, explaining observations by the model that seemingly provides the greatest explanatory breadth is one thing. Assuming that hypothetical events occurred so that your model becomes, thereby, the one with the greatest explanatory breadth is another. Hypothetical events are neither observations nor modeled events.

    You don't seem to understand the scientific method. We tenatively assume our hypothesis, deduce specific and distinguishing empirical entailments, then we test them. The Theory of Evolution is strongly supported by the scientific evidence. ID doesn't even bother to test anything, but relies on apologetics.

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  70. Zachriel: The Theory of Evolution is strongly supported by the scientific evidence.

    Jeff: No, the hypothesis of macroevolution is non-falsifiable and even non-testable so far. Evolution, per se, is not even a theory to most people. It's observed fact. The grand hypothesis is too general to test. It will take myriads of tests to build a sound causal theory from which we can generate a model to test the grand claim. We're light years from that, currently.

    Zachriel: ID doesn't even bother to test anything, but relies on apologetics.

    Jeff: No, ID depends on you falsifying their hypotheses by demonstrating that the events you hypothesize are repeatable, either by observation or modeling. So as it stands, the grand macroevolutionary hypothesis is non-falsifiable and non-testable. Once it is testable and passes the requisite tests, it will falsify contradictory ID hypotheses for the simple reason it will provide greater TESTED explanatory breadth. But for now, you not only have mere hypothesis about causality of historical events, as ID does, but you posit tons of purely hypothetical events to boot.

    IOW, because you posit not merely a cause of biological similarity, but specific orders and timings of hypothetical events, you have tons of hypotheses in need of confirmation by modeling.

    We don't even fully understand the conditions of the existence of extant phenotypes, much less how they could evolve into significantly different ones naturally. E.g., there may be tons of functional DNA that was once thought to be junk that might be crucial to the existence of a reproducing populations continued survival.

    Non-macroevolutionary ID inferences are just analogical inferences just like the grand macroevolutionary hypothesis is. But for now, neither is testable nor falsifiable.

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  71. Shubee: Quantum theory is consistent with a fantastic number of experimental observations and a sensible view of Scripture but the Intelligent Design movement dismisses the predictive power of modern physics and conflates astrology with it's own philosophy.

    Jeff: No, quantum EQUATIONS are consistent with the observations. An equation is not the same thing as say, the Copenhagen theory, etc. And to say that the Copenhagen theory is consistent with scripture would take an argument you have not bothered to make.

    As for astrological claims, any claim that is an analogical inference is automatically an inductive inference. Ultimately, that's all science is--the making of analogical inferences and the testing of them to the extent possible. The fact that some such inferences can be modeled mathematically is great. But it is not necessary to the inductive process.

    But many astrological claims have been shown to be false or non-falsifiable. Thus, though they might have been inductive in origin, they have met the fate that many REAL scientific (i.e., inductive) hypotheses have met--falsification.

    That's all Behe was saying in my opinion. To read more into his statement may not be warranted. I'd need more information from you about the context of the statement to conclude otherwise.

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  72. Zachriel: ID doesn't even bother to test anything, but relies on apologetics.

    Jeff: No, ID depends on you falsifying their hypotheses by demonstrating that the events you hypothesize are repeatable, either by observation or modeling.

    In other words, ID is scientifically sterile.

    Jeff: So as it stands, the grand macroevolutionary hypothesis is non-falsifiable and non-testable.

    Labeling your strawman "grand" doesn't make it better. The Theory of Common Descent is a fundamental component of the Theory of Evolution. The evidence for that begins with the nested hierarchy. Earlier, you said this:

    Jeff: It is not true that generating a tree with nested hierarchy implies that there are natural causes that would produce that tree genealogically.

    That was incrorect, and because it is such a simple and direct result, it indicates that you really don't know very much about phylogeny or why scientists look at this pattern as such strong evidence for Common Decent.

    A nested hierarchy is the direct result of divergence along uncrossed lines. This is a mathematical truism, not an empirical statement. Do you understand why this is so?

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  73. Zachriel: In other words, ID is scientifically sterile.

    Jeff: IOW, those inferences are non-testable, just like the macroevolutionary one is. The difference is that we can continue to research and find ways to test the myriad of assumptions entailed in the macroevolutionary hypothesis. But macroevolution, per se, is literally unfalsifiable whereas specific design inferences are at least conceivably falsifiable.

    Zachriel: Theory of Common Descent is a fundamental component of the Theory of Evolution.

    Jeff: No it's not. We know evolution occurs. We don't know whether the hypothetical events you posit ever occurred or could have occurred.

    Zachriel: A nested hierarchy is the direct result of divergence along uncrossed lines. This is a mathematical truism, not an empirical statement. Do you understand why this is so?

    Jeff: It makes no difference, Zachriel. A computer generated tree does not imply or indicate that there are DNA sequences that produce the tons of hypothetical phenotypes you posit. Nor does it imply or indicate that the blind search through DNA space (if those hypothetical sequences existed) could be done with realistic probability in the posited time-frame.

    IOW, those cladistic trees don't tell us whether macroevolution is possible or plausible independent of metaphysics.

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  75. Jeff: But macroevolution, per se, is literally unfalsifiable whereas specific design inferences are at least conceivably falsifiable.

    Of course macroevolution can be falsifiable. It's just not falsified.

    Jeff: We know evolution occurs. We don't know whether the hypothetical events you posit ever occurred or could have occurred.

    We know evolution occurs. We also know that organisms have diverged from common ancestors. Fossil evidence is more than sufficient to show many significant transitions.

    Jeff: A computer generated tree does not imply or indicate that there are DNA sequences that produce the tons of hypothetical phenotypes you posit.

    There was strong evidence for Common Descent long before the discovery of molecular genetics.

    Zachriel: A nested hierarchy is the direct result of divergence along uncrossed lines. This is a mathematical truism, not an empirical statement. Do you understand why this is so?

    Jeff: It makes no difference,

    Of course it makes a difference, and you didn't answer the question.

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  76. Zachriel: Of course macroevolution can be falsifiable. It's just not falsified.

    Jeff: How can it be?

    Zachriel: We know evolution occurs. We also know that organisms have diverged from common ancestors. Fossil evidence is more than sufficient to show many significant transitions.

    Jeff: But fossil evidence is insufficient to preclude the need to posit tons of hypothetical events and DNA sequence-phenotype relationships. These are the hypotheses of your view. Tree-building doesn't even address those hypotheses.

    Zachriel: There was strong evidence for Common Descent long before the discovery of molecular genetics.

    Jeff: Of course, because all biological variation occurs by common descent. That doesn't imply or indicate that the hypothetical DNA sequence-phenotype relationships are possible or plausible though. The extrapolation you make to all those hypotheticals is an analogical inference who is only plausibility derives from metaphysics. There is no causal theory or probability calculations that can get you there.

    Zachriel: Of course it makes a difference, and you didn't answer the question.

    Jeff: No it doesn't make any difference at all for the reason I gave. It doesn't address the very hypotheticals that are in question in any way whatsoever. And yes, I realize it is not an empirical statement. But a tree generated from non-hypotheticals doesn't prove the reality, possibility, or plausibility OF hypotheticals. It takes a tested causal theory from which those hypotheticals can be plausibly modeled to get you to testability. We're nowhere near that.

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  77. Zachriel: There was strong evidence for Common Descent long before the discovery of molecular genetics.

    Jeff: Of course, because all biological variation occurs by common descent.

    Jeff2: I mis-worded that. I should have said that we observe a great deal of similarity in organisms which is obviously due to common descent. Obviously, because we can repeat it. For example, if we breed german shepherss and get german shepherds but can't breed great danes and get german shepherds, even 3 year-olds will infer that all live german shepherds probably came from german shepherds.

    But that tells us nothing as to how the Cambrian fauna became the Pleistocene fauna. By analogy, I could put money in a machine that randomly selected from a list of songs and played one. Another kind of machine my do the same thing but play from a different set of songs. The variety of songs played doesn't in any way indicate that if I keep putting in money I'll eventually get songs to play that aren't in the list the machines are capable of playing.

    I.e., variety doesn't imply boundless variety. Any logic book will tell you that the more different the comparison being made, the weaker is the analogical argument. Thus, it is orders of magnitude weaker to argue analogically that a single-celled organism can vary by descent into a St. Bernard than that wild canines can vary by descent into a St. Bernard.

    That is just induction 101. But when you have a metaphysic that rules out final causes, then your explanations MUST be natural. Therefore, macroevolution is literally all there is to infer.

    What else is there that would constitute a natuarlistic, analogical explanation of earth's extant and extinct biota once you are limited to a finite-aged universe as per the consensus view? But that is just the problem for the naturalist. Once you posit causeless events, as you must if you suppose the universe is finite in age, you've already moved science beyond explanations to bald assertions. For explanations simply ARE causal accounts. And yet the mainstream posits an ultimately a-causal origin of the universe.

    But there is nothing rational about supposing ultimate causes are not actually final causes. On the contrary, to posit non-final, ultimate causes is to posit an additional class of ultimate causality unnecessarily, which is a violation of parsimony, if nothing else.

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  78. Jeff: But fossil evidence is insufficient to preclude the need to posit tons of hypothetical events and DNA sequence-phenotype relationships.

    Preclude? "DNA sequence-phenotype relationships?" Your statement doesn't make much sense. Of course there is a demonstrable relationship between genotype and phenotype. You seem to be saying we have to know everything to determine that organisms evolved from common ancestors. This is simply incorrect. We can piece together much of the history from necessarily limited evidence.

    Do you understand that the nested hierarchy is strongly supported across many taxa and traits (such as vertebrates), including genomics?

    Let's try a couple of simple examples, hominid evolution and reptile-to-mammal evolution. In hominid evolution, fossils show a branching pattern with some lineages having increasing size of brain cases. We can line the fossil skulls up according to geological strata. Each step is roughly incremental (though not always monotonic), the changes are sometimes so subtle that anthropologists will argue over which closely related taxa it belongs in, and the changes within each lineage is within the normal variation expected within a population. Furthermore, the rate of evolution in hominids may be historical rapid, but is well-within observed rates of evolution, which can be in the thousands of darwins.

    With regards to mammal evolution, we have a large number of transitional forms that show skull, limb and even middle ear evolution. Again, the changes are within what is expected as normal variation in populations, and we can show how small changes in genes can cause these sorts of morphological changes.

    Ji et al., Evolutionary Development of the Middle Ear in Mesozoic Therian Mammals, Science 2009: This fossil suggests that developmental heterochrony and gene patterning are major mechanisms in homplastic evolution of the DMME.

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  79. Zachriel: Preclude? "DNA sequence-phenotype relationships?" Your statement doesn't make much sense. Of course there is a demonstrable relationship between genotype and phenotype.

    Jeff: Yes, there is a DEMONSTRABLE relationship between REAL genotype and phenotype. There is only a HYPOTHETICAL relationship between a HYPOTHETICAL genotype and a HYPOTHETICAL phenotype. And you posit myriads of such hypothetical relationships. And yet you can't go to the laboratory and test them. You just assume your hypotheses are true. Which is fine. But it ain't knowledge.

    Zachriel: You seem to be saying we have to know everything to determine that organisms evolved from common ancestors. This is simply incorrect. We can piece together much of the history from necessarily limited evidence.

    Jeff: You're wrong. All the pieces in the world don't indicate that hypothetical pieces are non-hypothetical. You have to demonstrate empirically by observation or modeling from well-tested causal theory to move from hypothesis to knowledge.

    Zachriel: Again, the changes are within what is expected as normal variation in populations, and we can show how small changes in genes can cause these sorts of morphological changes.

    Jeff: Variation that falls within observable ranges of variation by common descent can plausibly inferred to be due to descent. When we get to radical differences, that kind of simplistic analogy fails. And most gaps are systematic and large. The smaller ranges of variation are agreed to be due to common descent by virtually everyone precisely because of the high degree of analogy involved.

    But when you go to likening small degrees of variation caused by recombination and feedback mutations to large degrees of variation hypothetically caused by randomly mutated duplicated genes, not only does the degree of variation break down analogically, but so does the causality inferred. Mere analogy does not a compelling argument make when there are mutually exclusive analogies that apply to a hypothetical explanation of a given set of data. And that is precisely the case in the question at hand.

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  80. Jeff: And most gaps are systematic and large.

    And yet you ignore examples where we can reasonably reconstruct the evolutionary history.

    Zachriel: We can piece together much of the history from necessarily limited evidence.

    Jeff: You're wrong.

    Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.

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  81. Zachriel: And yet you ignore examples where we can reasonably reconstruct the evolutionary history.

    Jeff: There is no causal theory that has been modeled to demonstrate that macroevolution is either possible or realistically probable in the posited time-frame. Whatever you mean, therefore, by "reconstruct," has nothing to do with aposteriori modes of thought. If you mean you can do pictures in your mind, great. But that has nothing to do with rational thought.

    Zachriel: Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.

    Jeff: No single proposition is an argument for anything. You're gonna have to flesh out something more than that.

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  82. Zachriel: We can piece together much of the history from necessarily limited evidence.

    Jeff: You're wrong.

    You made a gross overstatement, that we can't make supportable claims about the past from necessarily limited evidence. One such claim is that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth. The evidence are the fossils. From these fossils, we can determine that dinosaurs roamed, that they laid eggs, that some ate plants and others meat, that some even cared for their young in nesting colonies.

    Jeff: No single proposition is an argument for anything.

    Of course single propositions can be arguments for some things, so that's another gross overstatement. In this case, we have the strongly supported statement that dinosaurs once roamed the earth. This single proposition argues that, indeed, we can piece together much of history from necessarily limited evidence.

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  83. Data is not evidence for an hypothesis in a non-circumstantial way unless that data can not be accounted for HYPOTHETICALLY by other analogical inferences. But in this case, there are mutually exclusive analogical interpretations of the cause of the data (fossil and non-fossil). I can't observe whether a designer configured matter to produce organisms and vary as humans seem to do by design in their designoids (which is what renders the comparison and analogical one). And you can't observe or model any of the myriads of hypothetical events you posit.

    Thus, what you call evidence for your hypothesis is also evidence for mututally exclusive hypotheses of the same exact data. But there's no way today for you to test your hypothesis. Thus, there's no way for the competing ID hypotheses to be falsified. The competing ID hypotheses will be falsified precisely when your hypothesis beomes testable AND passes that test. We're nowhere near that.

    In the meanwhile, nothing but a person's metaphysic renders one hypothesis more plausible than the other to him/her.

    Indeed, the analogical approach your side takes breaks down anyway. If it was truly generic, it would imply that reproduction has occurred into the infinite past. Otherwise you have a singularity that the analogy can't account for. On the other hand, because you require that macroevolution explain certain kinds of patters of similarity, the analogy breaks down at all the points where you have to posit convergence to account for the data evolutionarily.

    Thus, there is nothing about your hypothesis that renders it more inductive than competing ID inferences. We are in the exact same ball-park in that sense.

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  84. P.S. What would make your hypothesis BETTER in an inductive sense is if it can be shown to be physically possible and realistically probable in the posited time-frame. Then it would provide greater explanatory breadth. But we have no idea if either of those is true. Nothing we know by aposteriori modes of thought implies or indicates any such thing. But in what sense is a purely hypothetical inference better than another purely hypothetical inference except in terms of metaphysics? Can you explain that to us so we'll know what in the world you're talking about?

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  85. Jeff: Data is not evidence for an hypothesis in a non-circumstantial way unless that data can not be accounted for HYPOTHETICALLY by other analogical inferences.

    In science, the validity of a hypothesis is judged by its fit to the data, and through the testing of specific and distinguishing entailments.

    Jeff: And you can't observe or model any of the myriads of hypothetical events you posit.

    We observe evolutionary mechanisms in nature.

    Jeff: And you can't observe or model any of the myriads of hypothetical events you posit.

    There is no scientific ID Hypothesis.

    Jeff: But there's no way today for you to test your hypothesis.

    The Theory of Evolution entails specific and distinguishing empirical predictions, starting with Common Descent.

    Jeff: If it was truly generic, it would imply that reproduction has occurred into the infinite past.

    You seem to be saying that a theory of gravity that explains planetary motions is not a valid theory if it doesn't extend into the infinite past.

    Jeff: Otherwise you have a singularity that the analogy can't account for.

    Yet, the Theories of Gravity and Evolution explain and predict lots of things.

    Jeff: On the other hand, because you require that macroevolution explain certain kinds of patters of similarity, the analogy breaks down at all the points where you have to posit convergence to account for the data evolutionarily.

    Unfortunately, the world doesn't fit into neat packages. Fortunately, science allows us to understand some things without having to understand everything.

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  86. Jeff: What would make your hypothesis BETTER in an inductive sense is if it can be shown to be physically possible and realistically probable in the posited time-frame.

    We can observe mechanisms of evolution. One prediction is that the observed rates of evolution have to be at least as fast as the fastest historical transitions. Careful observations show that observed rates of evolution are faster, much faster, than historical transitions.

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  87. Zachriel, OBSERVED rates of production of OBSERVED phenotypes don'tell me whether there are DNA sequences that produce all the hypothetical phenotypes you posit. Nor do they tell me that the blind "search" for those HYPOTHETICAL DNA sequences can happen with realistic probability in the posited time-frame. But these are the two things that need to be true to render macroevolution possible and plausible, respectively, per science. Your metaphysics might seem to imply that both of those must be true. But that's irrelevant to science.

    With science, there are analogical hypotheses and tests of those hypotheses. Until you can observe or model all those hypothetical phenotypes you posit, nothing we observe has any implications about their possibility whatsoever. Until you can model that the DNA sequences that suppposedly produce all those hypothetical phenotypes can be blindly mutated to from a plausible DNA sequence of the hypothetical common ancestor of all other organisms with realistic probability in the postied time-frame, nothing we observe has any implications about the plausibility of the grand hypothesis.

    We don't even have anything like a complete causal theory of what makes extant organisms given our ignorance of what functionality non-protein-producing DNA might condition. We are light years from testing macroevolution.

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  88. Jeff: OBSERVED rates of production of OBSERVED phenotypes don'tell me whether there are DNA sequences that produce all the hypothetical phenotypes you posit.

    Genetic and phenotypic evolution, and their relationship can be directly observed.

    Jeff: Your metaphysics might seem to imply that both of those must be true.

    It has nothing to do with metaphysics. We were perfectly happy with crystal spheres. The data strongly supports evolution. We start with Common Descent.

    Jeff: Until you can model that the DNA sequences that suppposedly produce all those hypothetical phenotypes can be blindly mutated to from a plausible DNA sequence of the hypothetical common ancestor of all other organisms with realistic probability in the postied time-frame, nothing we observe has any implications about the plausibility of the grand hypothesis.

    We don't have to know everything to know something. Your non-scientific obstinance leads you to refuse to acknowledge any evidence if it doesn't meet your standard of omniscience, but it's not a scientifically valid position. The Theory of Evolution was strongly supported long before the discovery of DNA. And the overwhelming consensus of the genetics community is that life evolved.

    We start with Common Descent.

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  89. Zachriel: We don't have to know everything to know something. Your non-scientific obstinance leads you to refuse to acknowledge any evidence if it doesn't meet your standard of omniscience, but it's not a scientifically valid position.

    Jeff: That claim proves too much. It would mean that whenever there are mutally exclusive analogical, yet hypothetical, explanations for a class of data, you can know which is true independent of testing. If that was true, we would never test. But we do, proving that your claim is over-simplistic. The fact is, both sides in this debate are making analogical inferences that can not be tested or falsified to date. And the macroevolutionary hypothesis is absolutely unfalsifiable.

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  90. Jeff: That claim proves too much.

    Which claim? That we don't have to know everything to know some things?

    Jeff: It would mean that whenever there are mutally exclusive analogical, yet hypothetical, explanations for a class of data, you can know which is true independent of testing.

    You haven't proposed a valid scientific hypothesis. Just swinging around ID like a talisman doesn't make entailments appear.

    Jeff: The fact is, both sides in this debate are making analogical inferences that can not be tested or falsified to date.

    We start with Common Descent. We have a number of lineages that clearly show transitions. We can make specific predictions and then test them. That's what science does. As an example, if whales descended from land mammals, then there should have once lived cetaceans with hind limbs. From the body of evidence, we can predict the strata, walk out into the Egyptian wastelands, test our hypothesis, then publish our results so that other researchers can confirm and extend our findings.

    Unless and until ID starts making empirical predictions that are *entailed* in a well-constructed hypothesis, it will remain scientifically meritless.

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  91. Zachriel: Which claim? That we don't have to know everything to know some things?

    Jeff: Yes, but not the claim per se, but the way you're using it.

    Zachriel: You haven't proposed a valid scientific hypothesis. Just swinging around ID like a talisman doesn't make entailments appear.

    Jeff: Moving in reverse order, I haven't claimed that any observations entail either kind of hypothesis. They are, after all, just hypotheses. As for what makes an hypothesis scientific, I would say it would have to be confirmable or falsifiabe at bare minimum.

    The macroevolutionary hypothesis is absolutely UNfalsifiable. However, it might be confirmable in the sense that one can confirm anything inductively. If it ever is confirmed, it will falsify opposing ID inferences thereby showing that IF the macroevolutionary hypothesis is scientific by my bare minimum criteria, so are the opposing ID hypotheses.

    So how do you define a scientific hypothesis? And what renders your definition better in a non-relativistic way?

    Zachriel: As an example, if whales descended from land mammals, then there should have once lived cetaceans with hind limbs.

    Jeff: The latter doesn't follow from the former at all.

    Zachriel: Unless and until ID starts making empirical predictions that are *entailed* in a well-constructed hypothesis, it will remain scientifically meritless.

    Jeff: Give me an empirical prediction that is entailed in the macroevolutionary hypothesis that you can test AND that has any implications about the possibility or realistic probability of macroevolution?

    What hypothesis had as an entailment an empirical prediction that certain rock structures from ancient sediments were designed by humans as opposed to having arisen by merely blind efficient causes? You see, Zachriel, whether a configuration of matter historically came about blindly or by intelligent direction can only be inferred by analogy. We can not empirically observe whether a cause is blind or not or even whether events are caused at all. And to say there are no final causes is to take a metaphysical stance.

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  92. Jeff: I haven't claimed that any observations entail either kind of hypothesis. They are, after all, just hypotheses.

    You are apparently confused on the scientific method. An entailment is a necessary consequence of the tentative assumption we call the hypothesis.

    Jeff: As for what makes an hypothesis scientific, I would say it would have to be confirmable or falsifiabe at bare minimum.

    Yes, empirical predictions should be specific and distinguishing.

    Jeff: The macroevolutionary hypothesis is absolutely UNfalsifiable.

    You keep saying that, given a reasonable definition of "the macroevolutionary hypothesis," the evidence starts with Common Descent.

    Jeff: So how do you define a scientific hypothesis?

    A scientific hypothesis is a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its empirical consequences.

    Jeff: Give me an empirical prediction that is entailed in the macroevolutionary hypothesis that you can test AND that has any implications about the possibility or realistic probability of macroevolution?

    From the Theory of Common Descent and the body of known evidence, whales descended from land vertebrates about 40 million years ago. Being large vertebrates, there is a good chance that they left fossil remains in geological strata associated with seabeds from that period. And scientists, people who actually do, like, stuff, have found fossils of cetaceans with hind limbs. Repeat the process over and over again in order to build up a picture of evolutionary history.

    Jeff: What hypothesis had as an entailment an empirical prediction that certain rock structures from ancient sediments were designed by humans as opposed to having arisen by merely blind efficient causes?

    Never heard of such a hypothesis. We can examine the strata to determine that it has been undisturbed. In addition, we can verify our findings through independent means and through independent observations. And you yourself can go out and find evidence rather than waving your hands concerning the evidence we have.

    Jeff: We can not empirically observe whether a cause is blind or not or even whether events are caused at all.

    Let's start with a very simple scientific claim. Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth. Do you understand the evidence for this and why we consider it well-supported?

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  94. Jeff: What hypothesis had as an entailment an empirical prediction that certain rock structures from ancient sediments were designed by humans as opposed to having arisen by merely blind efficient causes?

    Zachriel: Never heard of such a hypothesis.

    Jeff: Exactly. Yet people make such inferences all the time. That's what ID'ists are doing--making an analogical inference about something which can not be tested empirically. ID inferences of all kinds can not be tested. They can only be falsified by doing tests that demonstrate that naturalistic explanations plausibly account for the same data/phenomena. If the latter is accomplished, the naturalistic explanation wins on grounds of parsimony. But the macroevolutionary hypothesis is light years from being demonstrated to be possible, much less realistically probable.

    Zachriel: From the Theory of Common Descent and the body of known evidence, whales descended from land vertebrates about 40 million years ago.

    Jeff: I don't know what you're meaning by the "theory" of common descent. But common descent per se doesn't imply that whales descended from land vertebrates about 40 million years ago. So lay out ALL of what you mean by the "theory" and then lets see just how many posited claims therein are mere hypotheses non-subject to any tests we could possibly perform to confirm them.

    Zachriel: Let's start with a very simple scientific claim. Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth. Do you understand the evidence for this and why we consider it well-supported?

    Jeff: We infer such things by analogy. We can't do an empirical test to show THAT dinosaurs roamed the earth. On the other hand, what other analogical explanation is there for the data for which we make that analogical inference? If you're like me, you can't even think of one. But I can think of an analogical way of explaining how critter types might be designed to vary in less than the variational ranges entailed in the macroevolutionary hypothesis.

    And that's the point. I can't think of an analogical competitor to our inference that dinosaurs roamed the earth. I can think of one for the degrees of biological variation. So until you can conceive of a test by which we can confirm your hypothesis, the competing analogical hypothetical explanations of the data are non-falsifiable and non-testable. They're just inferences.

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  95. Jeff1: ID inferences of all kinds can not be tested. They can only be falsified by doing tests that demonstrate that naturalistic explanations plausibly account for the same data/phenomena.

    Jeff2: Let me give an example. When people infer that someone caused an event freely (i.e., volitionally), how could they do an empirical test to prove that the event was caused volitionally as opposed to naturally? Causality (efficient or final) is not something empirically detectable. We only have analogy to go by until we can conceive of empirical tests to show that existing naturalistic causal theory predicts the same kind of effect given the SAME antecedent conditions that existed prior to the original effect.

    I don't know of antecedent conditions that are repeatedly followed by the production of vehicles. I do know that humans produce vehicles and do so, SEEMINGLY, by skills they have obtained volitionally. Thus, analogically, I have to infer that vehicles can not arise apart from final causes until we have an established NATURALISTIC causal theory that demonstrates otherwise.

    You could say that there are no final causes (i.e., true libertarian free-will). But that is a metaphysical claim that is neither intuitive nor demonstrable aposteriori. Thus, any conclusion that depends on such claims as premises/grounds is necessarily metaphysic dependent. Similarly, all the claims about what a designer wouldn't or couldn't do are metaphysic dependent as well, for the same reason--i.e., those claims are neither intuitive nor demonstrable aposteriori.

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  96. Jeff: That's what ID'ists are doing--making an analogical inference about something which can not be tested empirically. ID inferences of all kinds can not be tested.

    We are in agreement. ID is scientifically vacuous. But the ID Community *claims* to have scientific validity.

    Zachriel: From the Theory of Common Descent and the body of known evidence, whales descended from land vertebrates about 40 million years ago.

    Jeff: I don't know what you're meaning by the "theory" of common descent.

    It's the theory that life evolved from common ancestors, and the details of that evolutionary history.

    Jeff: But common descent per se doesn't imply that whales descended from land vertebrates about 40 million years ago.

    The Theory of Common Descent is comprised of a large body of historical knowledge, including the diversification of mammals. In particular, that modern whales descended through a branching process from land mammals. From this, we can make predictions about intermediate forms.

    Jeff: So lay out ALL of what you mean by the "theory" and then lets see just how many posited claims therein are mere hypotheses non-subject to any tests we could possibly perform to confirm them.

    We already gave a very specific prediction and verification. We can explore the history of most any vertebrate taxa and reconstruct their history by this means.

    Zachriel: Let's start with a very simple scientific claim. Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth. Do you understand the evidence for this and why we consider it well-supported?

    Jeff: We infer such things by analogy. We can't do an empirical test to show THAT dinosaurs roamed the earth.

    If anyone is still reading this thread, you can't possibly think that position to be convincing. Anyone can visit a museum and look at fossils of dinosaurs. They had feet. They left footprints.

    Jeff: On the other hand, what other analogical explanation is there for the data for which we make that analogical inference?

    You seem hopelessly confused on the scientific method. Saying that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth is not an analogy. It's a testable hypothesis.

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  97. Jeff: That's what ID'ists are doing--making an analogical inference about something which can not be tested empirically. ID inferences of all kinds can not be tested.

    Zachriel: We are in agreement. ID is scientifically vacuous. But the ID Community *claims* to have scientific validity.

    Jeff: By your definition of "scientific," neither of our views are scientific.

    Jeff: I don't know what you're meaning by the "theory" of common descent.

    Zachriel: It's the theory that life evolved from common ancestors, and the details of that evolutionary history.

    Jeff: Yes, well, those so-called "details" consist of tons of hypotheses. You don't know a hypothesis to be true by assuming tons of other dependent hypotheses are also true.

    Zachriel: The Theory of Common Descent is comprised of a large body of historical knowledge, including the diversification of mammals. In particular, that modern whales descended through a branching process from land mammals. From this, we can make predictions about intermediate forms.

    Jeff: That modern whales descended from land animals is not historical knowledge. It is an inference. It can not be tested. It can not be falsififed. To test it, you would have to demonstrate that there are DNA sequences that condition the development of all the hypothetical intermediates you posit for the transition. Then you would have to show that the blind mutational search through DNA space from the hypothetical DNA sequence of the fossil land mammals you believe were whale ancestors could "find" all the DNA sequences that produced the transitionals in the posited time-frame with realistic probability. You've done neither of these tests. You can NOT do either of these. And yet these are exactly what you need to show to provide an argument for the possibility and plausibility of macroevolution.

    Jeff: So lay out ALL of what you mean by the "theory" and then lets see just how many posited claims therein are mere hypotheses non-subject to any tests we could possibly perform to confirm them.

    Zachriel: We already gave a very specific prediction and verification. We can explore the history of most any vertebrate taxa and reconstruct their history by this means.

    Jeff: Whales have genetics that seem to be able to produce feet to this day. This has nothing to do with the 2 things above you need to show. You're light years from proving a whale can descend via reproduction from a land mammal.

    Zachriel: Let's start with a very simple scientific claim. Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth. Do you understand the evidence for this and why we consider it well-supported?

    Jeff: We infer such things by analogy. We can't do an empirical test to show THAT dinosaurs roamed the earth.

    Zachriel: If anyone is still reading this thread, you can't possibly think that position to be convincing. Anyone can visit a museum and look at fossils of dinosaurs. They had feet. They left footprints.

    Jeff: We don't know EMPIRICALLY that there were dinosaurs or that they left footprints. What we have EMPIRICALLY is what we believe are the PRESERVED REMAINS of a dinosaur. A fossil is not a dinosaur. But we infer that those fossils were once living critters BY ANALOGY. You're confused as to the difference between EMPIRICAL observation and analogical inference.

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  98. Jeff: Yes, well, those so-called "details" consist of tons of hypotheses.

    Yes, that's correct. It's a measure of scientific utility that a theory generates many testable hypotheses. The Theory of Evolution has spawned entire new fields of study.

    Jeff: You don't know a hypothesis to be true by assuming tons of other dependent hypotheses are also true.

    In fact, a theory that predicts data from disparate fields with varying methodologies is considered more strongly supported. The Theory of Evolution predicts everything from geology to genetics. Each new discovery supports and refines previous findings.

    When wading into such a complex field, we should probably start with what we can establish with some certain. Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.

    Jeff: That modern whales descended from land animals is not historical knowledge. It is an inference. It can not be tested. It can not be falsififed.

    Of course it can. We propose a hypothesis, deduce its entailments, then test them. Being able to go out into the desert and pull out a cetacean with hind limbs beats handwaving all day long.

    Jeff: To test it, you would have to demonstrate that there are DNA sequences that condition the development of all the hypothetical intermediates you posit for the transition.

    No. What one has to do is to test entailments with specific and distinguishing empirical predictions. You don't even have to know what DNA is to test Common Descent. You can actually go and verify the findings of geology and paleontology yourself. But it may require taking a walk and carefully examining the local strata then comparing the rocks and fossils to what scientists claim.

    Jeff: Whales have genetics that seem to be able to produce feet to this day.

    Yes, that is evidence of Common Descent.

    Jeff: We don't know EMPIRICALLY that there were dinosaurs or that they left footprints. What we have EMPIRICALLY is what we believe are the PRESERVED REMAINS of a dinosaur. A fossil is not a dinosaur. But we infer that those fossils were once living critters BY ANALOGY. You're confused as to the difference between EMPIRICAL observation and analogical inference.

    Gee whiz. Fossils are empirical evidence of dinosaurs, just like Brownian motion is empirical evidence of the physical existence of atoms. It's not an analogy, but a strongly supported scientific hypothesis. We can study the fossils in detail, even see cell structure. We can determine that some species nested in colonies, caring for their young.

    The historical existence of dinosaurs is not in any reasonable scientific dispute.

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  99. Zachriel: It's a measure of scientific utility that a theory generates many testable hypotheses.

    Jeff: Generating MORE hypotheses is why you're light years from confirming the macroevolutionary hypothesis.

    Zachriel: In fact, a theory that predicts data from disparate fields with varying methodologies is considered more strongly supported.

    Jeff: Only if that same data is inconsistent with the competing hypotheses. Otherwise, that "evidence" is circumstantial in nature.

    Zachriel: The Theory of Evolution predicts everything from geology to genetics.

    Jeff: Only if you change the meaning of evolution to mean something other than common descent.

    Zachriel: Each new discovery supports and refines previous findings.

    Jeff: No. Each discovery is consistent with an unfalsifiable hypothesis, by definition. New discoveries don't refine, but rather falsify previous naturalistic explanations.

    Zachriel: ... we should probably start with what we can establish with some certain. Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.

    Jeff: Unfortunately, that fact is consistent with both hypotheses and is not predicted by either. There is nothing we know about genetics that tells us that dinosaurs would be produced if a single-cell organism reproduced with mutations, etc.

    Zachriel: We propose a hypothesis, deduce its entailments, then test them. Being able to go out into the desert and pull out a cetacean with hind limbs beats handwaving all day long.

    Jeff: Finding a fossil is not "finding" that it descended from a land mammal. The latter is an inference.

    Zachriel: You don't even have to know what DNA is to test Common Descent.

    Jeff: You're right if you want to say that we know by analogy that the gaps between fossil critter types can be bridged in one generation. Otherwise, YES, you have to demonstrate that there are DNA sequences that condition the development of all the hypothetical intermediates you posit for the transition. You can't just assume what it is you have to prove and then say you've demonstrated it.

    Jeff1: Whales have genetics that seem to be able to produce feet to this day.

    Zachriel: Yes, that is evidence of Common Descent.

    Jeff2: Yes it is. It's NOT evidence that common descent goes all the way down, though. When biological variation falls within the range of observable reproductive variation, we have STRONG analogical grounds for inferring common descent. When that inferred range of variation is huge compared to the range of observable reproductive variation, we have WEAK analogical grounds for the inference. There are alternative analogical ways of looking at it.

    Zachriel: Fossils are empirical evidence of dinosaurs ... It's not an analogy, but a strongly supported scientific hypothesis.

    Jeff: You've never observed a dinosaur or observed it make a nest or have or care for its young. Those are all inferred by analogy. Empiricism has to do with what you can SEE, TASTE, FEEL, HEAR, SMELL, etc. You've never seen, tasted, felt, or heard a dinosaur or its nests or its young. Only analogy gets us to such beliefs. But obviously, fossils ARE evidence of dinosaurs for that very reason, because we can't think of another analogical explanation of their existence. But there ARE analogical alternatives to the inference of common descent all the way down, though.

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  100. Zachriel: It's a measure of scientific utility that a theory generates many testable hypotheses.

    Jeff: Generating MORE hypotheses is why you're light years from confirming the macroevolutionary hypothesis.

    Good theories generate hypotheses. Great theories create whole new fields of study.

    Zachriel: In fact, a theory that predicts data from disparate fields with varying methodologies is considered more strongly supported.

    Jeff: Only if that same data is inconsistent with the competing hypotheses. Otherwise, that "evidence" is circumstantial in nature.

    There are lots of competing hypotheses. Can you state your hypothesis and its specific empirical predictions?

    Zachriel: The Theory of Evolution predicts everything from geology to genetics.

    Jeff: Only if you change the meaning of evolution to mean something other than common descent.

    Evolution is the change in the heritable compositions of populations over time. The Theory of Evolution is a number of interrelated claims concerning the mechanisms of evolutionary change and its history, including Common Descent.

    Zachriel: Each new discovery supports and refines previous findings.

    Jeff: No. Each discovery is consistent with an unfalsifiable hypothesis, by definition. New discoveries don't refine, but rather falsify previous naturalistic explanations.

    You keep repeating your position, but not arguing it. We have a specific hypothesis, that whales descended from land mammals. We make a prediction, and amazingly find a cetacean with hind limbs buried in rock in the middle of the desert. Must be a lucky guess.

    Zachriel: ... we should probably start with what we can establish with some certain. Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.

    Jeff: There is nothing we know about genetics that tells us that dinosaurs would be produced if a single-cell organism reproduced with mutations, etc.

    The claim you responded to was that Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.

    We can't possibly have a reasonable conversation about evolutionary theory when you insist that our confidence that Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth is based on simple analogy, rather than being a strongly supported scientific hypothesis.

    Zachriel: Fossils are empirical evidence of dinosaurs ... It's not an analogy, but a strongly supported scientific hypothesis.

    Jeff: You've never observed a dinosaur or observed it make a nest or have or care for its young. Those are all inferred by analogy.

    Not by simple analogy, but through hypothesis-testing. For instance, we can use a microscope and examine the cellular structure of fossils. We can match their skeletons with footprints. Sometimes we can examine the contents of their stomachs. We can determine what color their feathers were. And we can show that some dinosaurs nested in colonies.

    That's the difference, by the way, between science and handwaving. The hypothesis that fossils were living organisms, leads to new hypotheses, new tests, new methods, new insights.

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  101. Zachriel: Good theories generate hypotheses. Great theories create whole new fields of study.

    Jeff: Good theories are theories that have already explained MORE in a NON-circumstantial manner than their competitors. There is no data that we have found that is inconsistent with certain ID inferences. That's the difference. Thus, there is no non-circumstantial sense in which the macroevolutionary hypothesis is BETTER than competing ID inferences.

    Zachriel: There are lots of competing hypotheses.

    Jeff: Right. ID inferences of various sorts. There is no other naturalistic alternative to macroevolution posited by anti-ID'ists that I'm aware of.

    Zachriel: Can you state your hypothesis and its specific empirical predictions?

    Jeff: Why are you covering old ground? When, in a court of law, a jury infers that an action was committed by a person non-volitionally, they are implying that there are analogical grounds for DISTINGUISHING between events caused by natural and final causes. There is no empirical test that can empirically SHOW us that there is causality at all, much less teleological causality. To falsify an inference to a final cause, one must SHOW that a well-tested naturalistic causal theory accounts for the phenomena/event in question GIVEN the same antecedent conditions thereof.

    Zachriel: The Theory of Evolution predicts everything from geology to genetics.

    Jeff: Only if you change the meaning of evolution to mean something other than common descent.

    Zachriel: Evolution is the change in the heritable compositions of populations over time. The Theory of Evolution is a number of interrelated claims concerning the mechanisms of evolutionary change and its history, including Common Descent.

    Jeff: Then it doesn't predict geology. THAT populations vary over time does not mean you know HOW they will vary. Thus, the specific way fossil succession is discovered is not a specific prediction of the hypothesis. What's worse, we frequently extend stratigraphic ranges of critters anyway. You would need a very specific causal theory to predict the specific fossil critters we find where we find them. We're light years from such a detailed causal theory. We don't even know there are DNA sequences that can produce the hypothetical intermediate phenotypes, much less with realistic probability in the posited time-frame.

    Zachriel: We have a specific hypothesis, that whales descended from land mammals. We make a prediction, and amazingly find a cetacean with hind limbs buried in rock in the middle of the desert. Must be a lucky guess.

    Jeff: On the contrary. There is nothing lucky about it at all. We already know that whales have genes that seem to be capable of producing hind limbs under certain conditions. You're just mind-bogglingly easy to impress.

    Zachriel: We can't possibly have a reasonable conversation about evolutionary theory when you insist that our confidence that Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth is based on simple analogy, rather than being a strongly supported scientific hypothesis.

    Jeff: You're right. If you don't understand that historical analogical inferences are not empirical observations, you're too confused for me to waste any more of my time with. If you honestly think you've empirically observed an actual dinosaur, you may need to be institutionalized.

    Zachriel: For instance, we can use a microscope and examine the cellular structure of fossils. We can match their skeletons with footprints. Sometimes we can examine the contents of their stomachs. We can determine what color their feathers were. And we can show that some dinosaurs nested in colonies.

    Jeff: Exactly. The analogies are so powerful no sane person can doubt the indications of them. That doesn't mean you can test those analogies in the way we can EMPIRICALLY test certain physics hypotheses. We can actually do the relevant observations in those cases.

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  102. Zachriel: Can you state your hypothesis and its specific empirical predictions?

    Jeff: Why are you covering old ground?

    In other words, no. You won't provide a clear scientific hypothesis.

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  103. Right, Zachriel. By your definition of a scientific hypothesis, analogical inferences to final causes are non-scientific. That doesn't mean they're not true, though. But why would anyone care that you choose to define a scientific hypothesis so narrowly, seeing's how philosophers of science have great difficulty ascertaining such demarcation criteria?

    Moreover,there is no empirical test we can run out and perform that will indicate or imply the possibility or realistic probability of macroevolution, or that eventts are caused at all, even. So your hypothesis fails to be scientific, as well, by your own definition. Like most macroevolutionists, you prove too much in your over-zealousness to refute alternative analogical hypotheses.

    The kinds of naturalistic variation from descent we can test are consistent with many ID hypotheses. One's metaphysics (which constrains the range of analogy) is what typically tips the epistemological scales on non-testable hypotheses about causal mode--not empiricism. But seeing's how you think we know that dinosaurs ROAMED the earth by something other than analogical inference, I'm not surprised at the degree of your confusion.

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  104. Jeff: By your definition of a scientific hypothesis, analogical inferences to final causes are non-scientific.

    A scientific hypothesis has to entail specific and distinguishing empirical predictions. That's the whole point of the scientific method. The more varied the predictions, by different methodologies, even different fields of study, the more confidence we have in the conclusions. For instance, the retardation of the pendulum confirms a prediction based on the rotation of the Earth being actual rather than apparent.

    jeff: But seeing's how you think we know that dinosaurs ROAMED the earth by something other than analogical inference, I'm not surprised at the degree of your confusion.

    Gee willikers. They left footprints! It's a strongly supported scientific hypothesis. That means we can make and test predictions. For instance, we can compare the fossil limbs to the footprints, we can study the physiological characteristics of dinosaurs to see how they walked, we can study the circulatory characteristics by microscopic examination of capillaries in the bones, how the muscles connected to the bones, and so on.

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  105. Zachriel: The more varied the predictions, by different methodologies, even different fields of study, the more confidence we have in the conclusions.

    Jeff: Not at all. Somewhere along the way, the predictions must be shown to be true non-circumstantially.

    Zachriel: They left footprints! It's a strongly supported scientific hypothesis.

    Jeff: First of all, it's strongly supported because of the number and kind of analogies that we have. But suppose you never made one other prediction. What is the better analogical alternative to the view that a fossil is the preserved remains of a previously existing organism? Seriously. No further predictions were necessary to render the inference we all make the STRONG ANALOGICAL one. Making a no-brainer inference stronger by further analogies is not what convinced RATIONAL people, Zachriel. There never was an analogical alternative.

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  106. Thank you for persisting. We have reached the heart of your misunderstanding.

    Zachriel: The more varied the predictions, by different methodologies, even different fields of study, the more confidence we have in the conclusions.

    Jeff: Not at all. Somewhere along the way, the predictions must be shown to be true non-circumstantially.

    That is incorrect. Galileo gathered significant evidence of the Earth's movement. Newton's Theory ended any reasonable doubt about whether the Earth moved. Halley's observation of the retardation of the pendulum in 1677 is just one of many such observations demonstrating the Earth's movement without actually observing the Earth's movement.

    Scientists had suspected the existence of atoms based on chemistry. Einstein's explanation of Brownian Motion ended most reasonable doubts about the physical existence of atoms, yet they couldn't be directly observed.

    Mendel showed that heredity was particulate without any knowledge molecular genetics. Significant discoveries concerning the properties of electricity were made without being able to observe the electron. And so on.

    Jeff: No further predictions were necessary to render the inference we all make the STRONG ANALOGICAL one.

    An analogy is sufficient for a hypothesis. But verification requires proposing and testing empirical implications. And whenever you see scientists doing science, that is exactly what they are doing. Physics didn't end with Newton's Theory. It began the process of teasing out the implications of his theory. Biology didn't end with Darwin. It began the process of teasing out the implications of his theory.

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  107. Jeff: Not at all. Somewhere along the way, the predictions must be shown to be true non-circumstantially.

    Zachriel: That is incorrect.

    Jeff: No, you're incorrect. All the examples you gave are the most analogical explanations (those having the greatest explanatory breadth) we have for the NON-hypothetical events/phenomena they account for. Those theories are not hypotheses about PURELY hypothetical sufficient conditions and PURELY hypothetical events as is the case for the macroevolutionary hypothesis.

    Zachriel: Biology didn't end with Darwin. It began the process of teasing out the implications of his theory.

    Jeff: Yes, and we're light years from determining if macroevolution is possible or realistically probable in the posited time-frame.

    ID'ists have no problem with people using any hypothesis they desire as a WORKING hypothesis. What they rightly resent is atheists claiming a hypothesis is already as good as confirmed simply because it's the only a-teleological analogical hypothesis they can conceive of.

    That is not science. That is metaphysics. And Dr. Hunter has already quoted scientist after scientist that argues just that way. There is no way to logically rule out teleological analogies as grounds of inference without ruling out teleology, per se. No scientific hypothesis (by your definition) can get you there. It's METAPHYSICS that gets you there.

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  108. Jeff: All the examples you gave are the most analogical explanations (those having the greatest explanatory breadth) we have for the NON-hypothetical events/phenomena they account for.

    They are scientific hypotheses. That is, they lead to specific and distinguishing empirical entailments. The retardation of the pendulum is not an "analogy," but a prediction from theory.

    You must be using the term "analogy" in some special manner, so please provide a definition, in particular, with respect to the retardation of the pendulum.

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  109. Zachriel: You must be using the term "analogy" in some special manner, so please provide a definition, in particular, with respect to the retardation of the pendulum.

    Jeff: I'm using it in the most general sense--namely, breadth of explanation. All analogical causal reasoning does is provide us explanatory breadth. We can't even prove events are caused at all.

    Induction has its AXIOMS which are UNPROVEABLE. And those axioms do not include the claim that final causes DON'T EXIST. If you want to appeal to logic in defense of your metaphysic, find me one logic book that is used in tax-funded universities that makes that claim.

    Otherwise, give it up. For without that claim, the only way you can show that analogical inferences to the role of final causes in biological origins are false is by deriving a causal theory from repeatable experiments (thereby showing the causes to be NATURAL) from which you can deduce (by modeling, if necessary):

    1) the EXISTENCE of DNA sequences that produce the hypothetical phenotypes you posit, and

    2) the realistic probability of their occurrence by blind mechanisms in the posited time-frame.

    For now, you're LIGHT YEARS from any such causal theory. We don't even yet know the role of all the DNA sequences in existence.

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  110. Jeff: I'm using it in the most general sense--namely, breadth of explanation. All analogical causal reasoning does is provide us explanatory breadth.

    That's interesting because the usual "definition is an "inference that if two or more things agree with one another in some respects they will probably agree in others".

    Jeff: Induction has its AXIOMS which are UNPROVEABLE.

    Induction just requires that we can believe our memories or that we can reliably make and read a record.

    Jeff: And those axioms do not include the claim that final causes DON'T EXIST.

    We're not discussing final causes. We're discussing whether or not Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth is a valid scientific hypothesis. If you don't think that's a valid hypothesis—contrary to nearly everyone who's ever seen a fossil—, then attempting to investigate genetics or evolution is quite beyond your capabilities.

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  111. Zachriel: That's interesting because the usual "definition is an "inference that if two or more things agree with one another in some respects they will probably agree in others".

    Jeff: Exactly. All laws of physics are this way. Newton inferred that the moon was attracted to the earth by a force LIKE the apple falling from a tree. How is that not analogy? How is it not analogical to infer that past critters had DNA? Did we have to recover DNA from a preserved critter to infer that? Of COURSE NOT!

    Zachriel: Induction just requires that we can believe our memories or that we can reliably make and read a record.

    Jeff: Induction assumes the relation of cauality, the relation of substance and attribute, the relations of time and space, and that some properties indicate other properties (analogy).

    Zachriel: If you don't think that's a valid hypothesis—contrary to nearly everyone who's ever seen a fossil—, then attempting to investigate genetics or evolution is quite beyond your capabilities.

    Jeff: Of course I think it's a valid scientific hypothesis. It's an analogical inference that has no worthy competitor. How many times do I have to say that? That's what renders it rational.

    Now if you want to add that to be scientific an inference must be EMPIRICALLY testable, then the inference to macroevolution is non-scientific. THere is no empirical test you can run out and perform to SHOW that macroevolution is possible or realistically probable in the posited time-frame, much less more plausible than analogical design inferences.

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  112. It's like this, Zachriel--the vast majority of phenotypes, per your general hypothesis, are HYPOTHETICAL. That means all the DNA sequences that putatively produced those hypothetical phenotypes are ALSO hypothetical.

    The number of empirical tests it would take to demonstrate what you need to show (assuming your myriads of hypotheses are even true, i.e.) is not only astronomically huge, but no one currently has a clue as to HOW to test those hypotheses.

    How, e.g., would you design an experiment to see if there is a DNA sequence that will produce some hypothetical phenotype of the transition between the first fish and the critter you suppose is its nearest fossil ancestor. Then how would you design an experiment or a model to show that those myriads of transitional DNA sequences could be attained by blind mutations in the posited time-frame with realistic probability? No one has a clue, dude.

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  113. Jeff: Newton inferred that the moon was attracted to the earth by a force LIKE the apple falling from a tree.

    That is completely wrong. Newton hypothesized that the force was the *same* force in both cases. Then he and others proceeded to make empirical predictions based on that hypothesis.

    Jeff: Induction assumes the relation of cauality, the relation of substance and attribute, the relations of time and space, and that some properties indicate other properties (analogy).

    That is incorrect. Causality and consistency of characteristics are the conclusions of experience. All we need to suppose is the reliability of memory.

    Jeff: Of course I think it's a valid scientific hypothesis. It's an analogical inference that has no worthy competitor.

    You continue to confuse an analogy with a scientific hypothesis, and have not indicated any awareness of the distinction that we keep making.

    Jeff: Now if you want to add that to be scientific an inference must be EMPIRICALLY testable, then the inference to macroevolution is non-scientific.

    We're not quite up to that yet. Let's be sure we both understand that the claim Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth is a scientific hypothesis that is subject to empirical verification. This presupposes you understand what it means to verify a scientific hypothesis. Instead of our repeating it again, you might indicate your understanding of this important principle.

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  114. Zachriel: That is completely wrong. Newton hypothesized that the force was the *same* force in both cases. Then he and others proceeded to make empirical predictions based on that hypothesis.

    Jeff: But the motions are different. That's the nature of an analogy--things are alike AND different.

    Zachriel: That is incorrect. Causality and consistency of characteristics are the conclusions of experience.

    Jeff: You're wrong. And if you try to write it out syllogistically, you will see that.

    Zachriel: You continue to confuse an analogy with a scientific hypothesis, and have not indicated any awareness of the distinction that we keep making.

    Jeff: I see the difference you are making. But an hypothesis that doesn't increase explanatory breadth analogically will not be taken seriously by most people, whether or not it implies empirical predictions. And again, by your view, the macroevolutionary hypothesis is not a scientific one. You've proved too much, which is precisely why philosophers of science struggle with demarcation criteria. They've actually thought this stuff through, whereas you have not.

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  115. Jeff: But the motions are different. That's the nature of an analogy--things are alike AND different.

    Newton hypothesized that the force of gravity was the *same* force in both cases. The motions are the *same* conic curves in both cases. You are wrong to state it was an analogy. And you need to correct this. This is at the very center of your misunderstanding of a hypothesis.

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  117. Zachriel: You are wrong to state it was an analogy.

    Jeff: Let's take your definition again:

    the usual "definition is an "inference that if two or more things agree with one another in some respects they will probably agree in others".

    So in the case at hand, DIFFERENT motions that are SIMILAR in some respect (i.e., they were curved) are also SIMILARLY describable in terms of a specific mathematical relation involving the distance between bodies, etc. There's ALWAYS analogy involved in inductive inferences, Zachriel. That's just what inductive reasoning IS--ANALOGICAL reasoning. But yes, we always prefer confirming tests where POSSIBLE.

    Zachriel: This is at the very center of your misunderstanding of a hypothesis.

    Jeff: Per the dictionary, a hypothesis is "a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts."

    You see, it's YOU that is confused. Now if you want to say that a SCIENTIFIC hypothesis must imply an empirical prediction that can NON-circumstantially confirm it if opbserved, then the macroevolutionary hypothesis is NOT scientific. But it IS an analogical inference which, like design inferences, may or may not be true or possible.

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  118. Zachriel: Newton hypothesized that the force of gravity was the *same* force in both cases. The motions are the *same* conic curves in both cases. You are wrong to state it was an analogy. And you need to correct this. This is at the very center of your misunderstanding of a hypothesis.

    Jeff: So in the case at hand, DIFFERENT motions that are SIMILAR in some respect (i.e., they were curved) are also SIMILARLY describable in terms of a specific mathematical relation involving the distance between bodies, etc.

    Newton didn't hypothesize the planets and apples moved according to analogous forces. He hypothesized they moved according to the *very same force*. It's an *axiom* of his mechanics. There is just no way to spin that any other way—even if you keep insisting otherwise.

    hypothesis, a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences

    That's the way the term is used when discussing the scientific method. We propose a tenative assumption, called the hypothesis, deduce its empirical implications, then test them. Virtually every scientific paper proposes and tests a scientific hypothesis, then proposes new hypotheses in order to guide further research and extend the findings.

    A simple example is the retardation of the pendulum. Do you understand why Newtonian Mechanics predicts that the pendulum will move slower at St. Helena than at Greenwich, and why this helps verify that the Earth actually moves?

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  119. Zachriel: He hypothesized they moved according to the *very same force*. It's an *axiom* of his mechanics. There is just no way to spin that any other way—even if you keep insisting otherwise.

    Jeff: This doesn't contradict the analogical relationship. So you're wasting disk space.

    Zachriel: We propose a tenative assumption, called the hypothesis, deduce its empirical implications, then test them. Virtually every scientific paper proposes and tests a scientific hypothesis, then proposes new hypotheses in order to guide further research and extend the findings.

    Jeff: Fine. We're light years from demonstrating that all the hypothetical phenotypes can be produced by any DNA sequence whatsoever, much less that the blind mutational traversal through DNA space per the posited "routes" could occur with realistic probability. Moreover, you don't even know how to design an experiment to SEE if those hypothetical DNA sequences exist. THUS, macroevolution, even per your take on it, is UNTESTABLE as of this time. And it has been ever since Darwin proposed it in a book. That's a LONG time. And there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

    Zachriel: Do you understand why Newtonian Mechanics predicts that the pendulum will move slower at St. Helena than at Greenwich, and why this helps verify that the Earth actually moves?

    Jeff: Never read up on it. But I do know that apart from analogical thinking, we can't even get to the uniformity of nature. Memory tells me nothing about what WILL happen in the future. It takes more than memory for that.

    If you want to flesh out the details of the reasoning or provide a web site, I'll be glad to read whatever you want me to consider. But it will have no relevance to the fact that macroevolution is untestable (given our current capacities for testing) and unfalsifiable.

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  120. Jeff: This doesn't contradict the analogical relationship.

    Newton's Gravity is not an analogy between the forces that control the movements of planets and apples, but an identity. It's the very foundation of his Mechanics. That's why it's called *Universal* Gravitation. This isn't something subject to reasonable disputation.

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  121. I spelled out the analogy for you (at least one of them). That analogy doesn't contradict what you're saying. Inductive reasoning IS analogical reasoning. If there were no analogy involved, there would be no increase in explanatory breadth, in which case having the theory would have no greater value than NOT having it.

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  122. Jeff: But I do know that apart from analogical thinking, we can't even get to the uniformity of nature.

    Even if you had some point you were trying to express about the nature of induction, that doesn't excuse your mangling of the scientific method or terminology.

    Jeff: I'm using {"analogy"} in the most general sense--namely, breadth of explanation.

    Very poorly defined, not the usual sense, and you may as well just use the word "explanation".

    Jeff: All analogical causal reasoning does is provide us explanatory breadth.

    Again, a bunch of words that convey very little meaning, and certainly don't relate to the scientific method which claims are validated through a particular process.

    Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth is already far beyond your current understanding. Let's try something simpler. If you put your hand in the fire, it hurts. You try it again and again. Do you ever learn?

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  124. We can't even get to the uniformity of nature apart from our belief that reality is maximally analogical. Explanation requires the notion of cause. That reality is maximally analogical is more than saying events are caused.

    Regardless, the macroevolutionary hypothesis is non-scientific by your definition of a scientic hypothesis.

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  125. Jeff: Regardless, the macroevolutionary hypothesis is non-scientific by your definition of a scientic hypothesis.

    Of course it is, but it is very difficult to have that discussion when your use of terminology keeps slipping.


    Jeff: We can't even get to the uniformity of nature apart from our belief that reality is maximally analogical.

    So you keep saying, but not arguing. Please try to provide an actual argument.

    Let's try something simple. You put your hand in the fire and it hurts. You try it again and again. Do you ever learn?

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  126. To be clearer, our minds have impulses that impel us to maximally analogical explanations.

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  127. Jeff: To be clearer, our minds have impulses that impel us to maximally analogical explanations.

    The simplification of your position is appreciated, but still reads as gobbledygook. There is the problem of induction, but you don't seem to be making that argument.

    Try to word it differently. Avoid "analogical".

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  128. Let's say the logic books are wrong and that analogy/parsimony/breadth of explanation have nothing to do with inference for most people. What difference does it make? The macroevolutionary hypothesis, or the myriads of specific ones entailed in modern inferences about macroevolution, is/are untestable.

    There are no empirical predictions entailed in them that you can run out and test. Thus, there is nothing scientific about those hypotheses, according to your OWN demarcation criteria. To date, those hypotheses are MERE inferences.

    But I'm perfectly comfortable with the logic books. Because they seem to describe how people actually reason. Memory is about what HAPPENED per the limits of our past EXPERIENCE. It doesn't tell us what is GOING to happen or what happened outside our perceptual purview at the time of such past experiences.

    Thus, memory can't get us to the uniformity of nature. You need more than that. This is very simple logic.

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  129. Jeff: Let's say the logic books are wrong and that analogy/parsimony/breadth of explanation have nothing to do with inference for most people.

    No one said people don't use analogies. Your claim was that without analogical thinking, "we can't even get to the uniformity of nature."

    Jeff: What difference does it make?

    Because you apparently don't know what it means when we say something has scientific support.

    We don't have to direct observe something to collect evidence about it. We knew about atoms before they could be observed. We knew the Earth moved before its movement could be observed. That's what hypothesis-testing is all about.

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  130. Zachriel: Your claim was that without analogical thinking, "we can't even get to the uniformity of nature."

    Jeff: And you have not accounted for the uniformity of nature apart from the analogical impulse of the human mind.

    Zachriel: We knew about atoms before they could be observed.

    Jeff: Right. Just like we knew fossils were the preserved remains of critters before finding any ADDITIONAL analogical support for that inference. Because there is no other more analogical interpretaion. You're seriously confused dude.

    And in the meanwhile, you have yet to explain to me how the macroevolutionary hypothesis has an entailment of an empirical prediction that we can run out and test against the real world. Like every macroevolutionist I've ever argued with, you constantly prove too much by your assertions. It's reason you are at war with.

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  131. You've never justified your claim that without analogical thinking, "we can't even get to the uniformity of nature." Leaving that aside,

    Jeff: And in the meanwhile, you have yet to explain to me how the macroevolutionary hypothesis has an entailment of an empirical prediction that we can run out and test against the real world.

    From Common Desecent, and the data-points already collected, whales are hypothesized to have descended from land mammals about 40 million years ago. Therefore, there should have existed in that time period cetacans with hind limbs living in shallow seas. It turns out that such strata are found exposed in the wastelands of Egypt. And that is what we find. No single discovery can be considered in isolation, but the entire fossil record is full of such predicted intermediaries.

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  132. The nested hierarchy is a natural consequence of descent with modification along uncrossed lines. We have thousands of data-points, and the pattern holds across most taxa. We can predict that newly discovered species will fit this pattern. In addition, the nested hierarchy applies through time!

    Along one such lineage, we see primitive chordates followed by fish, then lobed-fish, amphibians, primitive reptiles, mammals, primates, hominids, modern humans. Along another, diverging lineage, we have primitive reptiles, dinosaurs, birds. We see fins (fish), legs (amphibians), arms (dinosaurs), wings (birds), fins (penguins). If we line up hominid skulls, we see the increasing size over time.

    There are thirteen species of finch on the Galápagos Islands. They are posited to have descended from birds on the South American mainland, and we can therefore predict that genetics will support the nested hierarchy with extant mainland birds. If land vertebrates descended from fish, then there once existed intermediate forms. And so on.

    And so on.

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  133. Let's address these one by one. Because nothing you've said has anything to do with an empirical prediction entailed in the hypothesis that all organisms, but one, that have ever lived on earth share that one excepted organism as a common ancestor. I'll start from the last one.
    Zachriel: There are thirteen species of finch on the Galápagos Islands. They are posited to have descended from birds on the South American mainland, and we can therefore predict that genetics will support the nested hierarchy with extant mainland birds.
    Jeff: Yes, and ID'ists would predict the same thing for analogical reasons alone. But the hypothesis of common ancestry all the way down to one common ancestor doesn't predict nested hierarchy. If the requisite losses of biological characters/features occurred, the nested pattern we observe wouldn't necessarily have resulted. Stephen J. Gould also argued that if lateral gene transfer was common enough, that too would obliterate nested hierarchy. And yet common ancestry all the way down is consistent with lateral gene transfer. Thus, the hypothesis, per se, doesn't predict nested hierarchy.

    Moreover, nested hierarchy is suited to the natural human classificational impulses. Thus, there is an obvious purpose for it if there were final causes involved in the origin of critters.

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  134. Jeff: Because nothing you've said has anything to do with an empirical prediction entailed in the hypothesis that all organisms, but one, that have ever lived on earth share that one excepted organism as a common ancestor.

    Common ancestral populations, but we can leave that aside for now and go with the first-order approximation.

    Jeff: Yes, and ID'ists would predict the same thing for analogical reasons alone.

    No, you wouldn't. There is no reason to suppose from ID that Darwin's Finches would closely resemble organisms on the mainland — unless they descended from them. It's a prediction, though, from Common Descent.

    Jeff: If the requisite losses of biological characters/features occurred, the nested pattern we observe wouldn't necessarily have resulted. Stephen J. Gould also argued that if lateral gene transfer was common enough, that too would obliterate nested hierarchy.

    If the rate of mutation was very high, or lateral gene transfer was common enough, we wouldn't expect a nested hierarchy. That's right! But we can observe these processes, and they are sufficiently rare that when studying phylogeny, they stand out as exceptions against the background nested hierarchy pattern. Exceptions, such as endogenous retroviruses, form their own nested hierarchies consistent with insertion into genomes at various points of divergence!

    Jeff: Moreover, nested hierarchy is suited to the natural human classificational impulses.

    No. We can show it is not due to subjective classification, because it leads to specific empirical predictions.

    Consider a simple case. You say you have an organism with mammary glands.

    We can predict it will have a complex eukaryote cell structure with organelles, ingest other organisms for nourishment, bilateral symmetry, alimentary canal, have a bony head at one end with an array of sense organs, vertebrae protecting a nerve cord, integument, jaw, ribs, four limbs during at least at some stage of life, neck, neocortex, endothermic, internal fertilization, four-chambered heart, lungs with alveoli and a muscular diaphragm, two eyes, three ear bones in each of two ears, hair or at least hair follicles at some stage of life, sebaceous glands, most will have heterodont dentition, etc.

    All that from tits.

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  135. Jeff: Yes, and ID'ists would predict the same thing for analogical reasons alone.

    Zachriel: No, you wouldn't. There is no reason to suppose from ID that Darwin's Finches would closely resemble organisms on the mainland — unless they descended from them. It's a prediction, though, from Common Descent.

    Jeff: From the OBSERVED results of reproduction, we would infer it by analogy alone. Common descent is one thing. Common descent all the way down is another thing altogether. We don't know the latter is possible or realistically probable in the posited time-frame. We the former is known BY OBSERVATION and/or inferrable by very non-speculative analogical inference.

    Zachriel: If the rate of mutation was very high, or lateral gene transfer was common enough, we wouldn't expect a nested hierarchy. That's right!

    Jeff: And this means that the hypothesis of common descent all the way down does not ENTAIL an empirical prediction of nested hierarchy. Sufficient losses of biological characters would also prevent a nested hierarchy pattern. So you're just wrong on this matter. The hypothesis, PER SE, doesn't predict nested hierarchy.

    Jeff: Moreover, nested hierarchy is suited to the natural human classificational impulses.

    Zachriel: No. We can show it is not due to subjective classification, because it leads to specific empirical predictions.

    Jeff: That is irrelevant to my point. The natural human classificational impulse IS to classify according to nested hierarchy.

    Zachriel: Consider a simple case. You say you have an organism with mammary glands.

    We can predict it will have a complex eukaryote cell structure with organelles, ingest other organisms for nourishment, bilateral symmetry, alimentary canal, have a bony head at one end with an array of sense organs, vertebrae protecting a nerve cord, integument, jaw, ribs, four limbs during at least at some stage of life, neck, neocortex, endothermic, internal fertilization, four-chambered heart, lungs with alveoli and a muscular diaphragm, two eyes, three ear bones in each of two ears, hair or at least hair follicles at some stage of life, sebaceous glands, most will have heterodont dentition, etc.

    All that from tits.

    Jeff: Wrong. Not from tits alone. But from many observations that support the analogical inference to the yet observed. But NONE of these predictions are ENTAILED in the hypothesis of common descent all the way down, per se. The existence of mammary glands aren't even entailed in that hypothesis. You're confused as to what it means to be ENTAILED in the general hypothesis. There is NOTHING empirically predictable per the general hypothesis, per se, that you can run out and test. If there was, you would have already done it.

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  137. Jeff: From the OBSERVED results of reproduction, we would infer it by analogy alone.

    What analogy? You said you were going to avoid the concept in favor of scientific terminology in lieu of a clear definition. So ID posits, by some unknown entailment, that Darwin's Finches evolved from mainland birds?

    Jeff: We don't know the latter is possible or realistically probable in the posited time-frame.

    The problem with your position is that the evolutionary diversification of Darwin's Finches is the same process that leads from theropods to birds.

    Jeff: And this means that the hypothesis of common descent all the way down does not ENTAIL an empirical prediction of nested hierarchy.

    Descent with variation along uncrossed lines leads to a nested hierarchy (short of saturation). This is mathematical truism. This forms the basis of the hypothesis, which we then test against the evidence. The nested hierarchy is strongly supported for most taxa. Even the exceptions reinforce the hypothesis.

    As for all the way down, let's try to establish Common Descent where we can do so with some confidence. So you agree that Darwin's Finches diversified from a mainland bird. Is that correct? What about reptile to mammals? Fish to amphibian? Funny thing is, when you look closely, the transitions look much like the diversification of Darwin's Finches, small changes over time.

    Jeff: Sufficient losses of biological characters would also prevent a nested hierarchy pattern.

    That's right, as would extremely high rates of mutation.

    Jeff: The hypothesis, PER SE, doesn't predict nested hierarchy.

    Of course it does, and the hypothesis is strongly supported for most taxa, with few exceptions.

    Jeff: The natural human classificational impulse IS to classify according to nested hierarchy.

    It's completely relevant to the point. The nested hierarchy is not an a artifact of human perception, but leads to specific empirical predictions.

    Jeff: Not from tits alone.

    If you find a new species of frog, it won't have mammary glands.

    Jeff: There is NOTHING empirically predictable per the general hypothesis, per se, that you can run out and test.

    Every time a new species is discovered, extinct or extant, the hypothesis is tested. The nested hierarchy even applies across time. We can see the transitions occurring in the strata! Fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, primates, hominids. There is no reasonable scientific doubt about Common Descent.

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  138. Zachriel: What analogy? ... So ID posits, by some unknown entailment, that Darwin's Finches evolved from mainland birds?

    Jeff: Simple. You observe that such trivial variation fits a pattern of nested hierarchy in enough cases that you infer by analogy that other untested cases do. I don't even know Europe exists by empirical testing. I've never been there.

    Zachriel: The problem with your position is that the evolutionary diversification of Darwin's Finches is the same process that leads from theropods to birds.

    Jeff: Other macroevolutionists posit duplicated genes followed by point mutations for such radical transformations. Is that the cause of all diversification of Darwin's Finches? If so, can you provide me some references for that? We have no idea what kind of mutational process would produce birds from theropods.

    Zachriel: Descent with variation along uncrossed lines leads to a nested hierarchy (short of saturation).

    Jeff: Great, now even saturation is an exception.

    Zachriel: So you agree that Darwin's Finches diversified from a mainland bird. Is that correct?

    Jeff: That's correct. And the reason is obvious. We have observations of variation and processes (recombination, etc.) that clearly account for this degree of variation by strong analogy.

    Zachriel: What about reptile to mammals? Fish to amphibian? Funny thing is, when you look closely, the transitions look much like the diversification of Darwin's Finches, small changes over time.

    Jeff: You're virtually alone amongst evolutionists in thinking a fish to amphibian transition is as "small" as finch variation. In fact, that's why they posit the duplicated gene plus random mutation hypothesis to account for such transformations. But no one knows what a duplicated gene plus random mutations will produce until it happens. That's the problem. It's just an hypothesis whose entailed predictions can not be tested.

    Jeff: Sufficient losses of biological characters would also prevent a nested hierarchy pattern.

    Zachriel: That's right, as would extremely high rates of mutation.

    Jeff: So again, the nested hierarchy is not a prediction ENTAILED in the general hypothesis.

    Jeff: The hypothesis, PER SE, doesn't predict nested hierarchy.

    Zachriel: Of course it does, and the hypothesis is strongly supported for most taxa, with few exceptions.

    Jeff: Since the general hypothesis is consistent with high rates of mutation or HGT or sufficient losses of biological characters, etc, the general hypothesis is consistent with a pattern CONTRARY to a nested hierarchy. The general hypothesis did not predict DNA, much less mutation rates or HGT. Moreover, exceptions to an entailed prediction of a hypothesis FALSIFY the hypothesis.

    Zachriel: If you find a new species of frog, it won't have mammary glands.

    Jeff: We believe this by analogy. We don't know it empirically BY DEFINITION of what it means to know something empirically.

    Zachriel: Every time a new species is discovered, extinct or extant, the hypothesis is tested.

    Jeff: Do competing hypotheses entail a prediction that we will not find new species? No, they don't. Does the macroevolutionary hypothesis predict what particular kinds of species should exist? No, it doesn't. Thus, no test is entailed in the discovery of new species.

    Zachriel: We can see the transitions occurring in the strata!

    Jeff: You see no such thing. What you see is morphological intermediates which may or may not be genealogical intermediates. Let's suppose you find fossil B between fossil A and fossil C. Say fossil B is morphologically intermediate in some respect between A and B. Does this IMPLY there is a genealogical relationship? No it doesn't. It doesn't even imply that the origin times of critters A, B, and C correspond to their known stratigraphic ranges.

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  139. Jeff: You observe that such trivial variation fits a pattern of nested hierarchy in enough cases that you infer by analogy that other untested cases do.

    Calling adaptations "trivial" is just a form of handwaving. If you had an adaptation that made you stronger and more capable of providing for your offspring, you would not consider it trivial, at all. You would consider it your most important characteristic.

    Jeff: Other macroevolutionists posit duplicated genes followed by point mutations for such radical transformations.

    Genes, even entire genomes, can be duplicated.

    Jeff: We have no idea what kind of mutational process would produce birds from theropods.

    We don't have to know every mutational event to determine common ancestry. That's a strawman.

    Jeff: Great, now even saturation is an exception.

    Of course saturation would be an exception. Except that mutation rates tend to be low enough so that the nested hierarchy can be discerned across hundreds of millions of years. (Long branch attraction can be a problem for discerning rapid radiations, however.)

    Jeff: You're virtually alone amongst evolutionists in thinking a fish to amphibian transition is as "small" as finch variation.

    The transition from fish to amphibian is comprised of many small steps, each of which you would consider "trivial" in isolation.

    Jeff: So again, the nested hierarchy is not a prediction ENTAILED in the general hypothesis.

    Of course it is! That's just silly considering it was posited by Darwin in 1859 and there are entire fields of study concerned with determining the details of that divergence.

    Jeff: Since the general hypothesis is consistent with high rates of mutation or HGT or sufficient losses of biological characters, etc, the general hypothesis is consistent with a pattern CONTRARY to a nested hierarchy.

    A nested hierarchy is the necessary consequence of divergence along uncrossed lines. Descent with modification will create a nested hierarchy of traits, as long as rates of change are short of saturation. We *observe* variation. We *observe* the generation of novelty. We *observe* the nested hierarchy.

    If the rates of mutations were very fast compared to the time scales involved, the nested hierarchy would not be discernible in the distant past. But that's not the universe we live in. There is a nested hierarchy. And there are observed variations that are sufficiently robust to account for that phylogenetic tree.

    Jeff: Do competing hypotheses entail a prediction that we will not find new species?

    What competing hypothesis is that?

    Jeff: Does the macroevolutionary hypothesis predict what particular kinds of species should exist?

    Absolutely. After this long of a discussion, you shouldn't have to be told. Please tell us, what is the prediction about new species?

    Jeff: Does this IMPLY there is a genealogical relationship?

    When considered with the rest of the evidence, yes.

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  140. Zachriel: If you had an adaptation that made you stronger and more capable of providing for your offspring, you would not consider it trivial, at all.

    Jeff: Adaptive does not equal "transitional" in the sense your hypotheses require. The variation has to be directional in the posited direction to be relevant to your hypotheses.

    Zachriel: Genes, even entire genomes, can be duplicated.

    Jeff: How does that imply there are DNA sequences that produce all the hypothetical phenotypes or can be blindly mutated into with realistic probability in the posited time-frame?

    Zachriel: We don't have to know every mutational event to determine common ancestry.

    Jeff: You have to show THAT there are DNA sequences that will produce all the hypothetical phenoytpes and THAT mutations will produce them in the posited time-frame with realistic probability. Why is a hypothesis with an empirical prediction better if you deny me that very empiricism? Hmm?

    Zachriel: The transition from fish to amphibian is comprised of many small steps, each of which you would consider "trivial" in isolation.

    Jeff: And you observed or modeled this? What you're claiming IS your hypothesis.

    Zachriel: That's just silly considering it was posited by Darwin in 1859 and there are entire fields of study concerned with determining the details of that divergence.

    Jeff: You've already admitted 3 ways that nested hierarchy would not occur even if macroevolution occurred. Now, I'm sorry, but that means the prediction is not ENTAILED in the hypothesis. You can add the hypothesis of nested hierarchy if you want. But then the exceptions would falsify it anyway.

    Zachriel: We *observe* variation. We *observe* the generation of novelty. We *observe* the nested hierarchy.

    Jeff: The first two are consistent with ID inferences. The nested hierarchy is not an entailed prediction. Thus, none of the three constitute a test which confirms one hypothesis over another.

    Zachriel: If the rates of mutations were very fast compared to the time scales involved, the nested hierarchy would not be discernible in the distant past.

    Jeff: That general hypothesis doesn't predict DNA, mutations, mutations rates, nested hierarchy, etc. If you want to hypothesize, ADDITIONALLY, sufficiently slow mutation rates in the past, what would be the empirical prediction entailed in that hypothesis that we could test?

    Zachriel: And there are observed variations that are sufficiently robust to account for that phylogenetic tree.

    Jeff: On the contrary. We have no tested genetic theory from which we can model anything like the transitions you hypothesize.

    Jeff: Do competing hypotheses entail a prediction that we will not find new species?

    Zachriel: What competing hypothesis is that?

    Jeff: ID hypotheses. Even given your definition of a scientific hypothesis, it doesn't follow that other hypotheses are not hypotheses. Moreover, your hypothesis is not scientific by your own definition.

    Zachriel: Please tell us, what is the prediction about new species?

    Jeff: Hypothesize what you want about new species. But do you know what the empirical predictions entailed in those hypotheses are and what implications they have for falsifying competing hypotheses? Thus far, you've made it clear you don't.

    Zachriel: When considered with the rest of the evidence, yes.

    Jeff: There is no non-circumstantial evidence for common ancestry all the way down.

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  141. Jeff: Adaptive does not equal "transitional" in the sense your hypotheses require. The variation has to be directional in the posited direction to be relevant to your hypotheses.

    Once we establish Common Descent, then we can examine the details of some of those transitions.

    Jeff: You have to show THAT there are DNA sequences that will produce all the hypothetical phenoytpes and THAT mutations will produce them in the posited time-frame with realistic probability.

    There was a perfectly valid theory of evolution before the discovery of DNA. Again, we first have to establish Common Descent.

    Jeff: You've already admitted 3 ways that nested hierarchy would not occur even if macroevolution occurred.

    There are a gazillion possible theories and possible worlds. But substituting your own strawman for the actual hypothesis is a fallacy. Common Descent predicts the nested hierarchy, not your mangled version of "macroevolution."

    Zachriel: What competing hypothesis is that?

    Jeff: ID hypotheses.

    You couldn't possibly be more vague.

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  142. Jeff: You have to show THAT there are DNA sequences that will produce all the hypothetical phenoytpes and THAT mutations will produce them in the posited time-frame with realistic probability.

    Zachriel: There was a perfectly valid theory of evolution before the discovery of DNA. Again, we first have to establish Common Descent.

    Jeff: Right. Because what you mean by theory is a set of hypotheses about KINDS of events no one has ever observed or modeled from observationally-based causal theory. But hypotheses are not known to be true SCIENTIFICALLY until the empirical predictions entailed in those hypotheses are confirmed EMPIRICALLY in a non-circumstantial way. You can have some subjective sense of plausibility, as do ID'ists for their hypotheses. But the goal of science is to eliminate that very subjectivity. We're nowhere near that on the topic at hand.

    We may make observations every now and then that challenge our ability to explain them in terms of our long-standing physical theories. But with the macroevolutionary hypothesis. The vast majority of what is hypothesized is not known to even be possible. We don't know by any form of reasoning that there are DNA sequences that produce the kazillions of phenotypes you hypothesize. Thus, to even infer it analogically is an analogical stretch unparalleled in empirically-established theories.

    This is why there is raging debate amongst macroevolutionists to this day. They can't agree on the causal mode or specific transformational trajectories. They only agree that the causal mode involves no final causes. That's pretty pathetic results for 150 years of research.

    Zachriel: There are a gazillion possible theories and possible worlds. But substituting your own strawman for the actual hypothesis is a fallacy. Common Descent predicts the nested hierarchy, not your mangled version of "macroevolution."

    Jeff: Common descent and macroevolution mean the same thing--genealogical relationship all the way down. If you don't mean that, then I have no idea what in particular you're arguing for yet.

    Zachriel: What competing hypothesis is that?

    Jeff: ID hypotheses.

    Zachriel: You couldn't possibly be more vague

    Jeff: The more specific the hypothesis about some similar cause of ALL life, the more hopelessly unfalsifiable and untestable it gets. That's the problem with your hypothesis. That's why it's not scientific even by your own definition. You're just too confused to realize what the words you're writing even mean. ID'ists are positing the mere possibility that certain configurations of matters can only rise with the aid of finality causality.

    Those hypotheses are only falsifiable if your hypothesize ever becomes testable. And it will only BECOME testable if in fact it is possible and sufficiently probable, and we know neither. And we know of no way to test either. And there is nothing in the forseeable future that will change that. You and I will die LONG before we're anywhere near any such state of affairs, assuming such a state of affairs is even possible.

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  143. Jeff: But hypotheses are not known to be true SCIENTIFICALLY until the empirical predictions entailed in those hypotheses are confirmed EMPIRICALLY in a non-circumstantial way.

    That is incorrect.

    Galileo gathered significant evidence of the Earth's movement. Newton's Theory ended any reasonable doubt about whether the Earth moved. Halley's observation of the retardation of the pendulum in 1677 is just one of many such observations demonstrating the Earth's movement without actually observing the Earth's movement.

    Scientists had suspected the existence of atoms based on chemistry. Einstein's explanation of Brownian Motion ended most reasonable doubts about the physical existence of atoms, yet they couldn't be directly observed.

    Mendel showed that heredity was particulate without any knowledge molecular genetics. Significant discoveries concerning the properties of electricity were made without being able to observe the electron. And so on.

    As most people can read and understand the examples provided, few are going to accept your insistence on what constitutes scientific evidence. The scientific method revolves around hypothesis-testing. There's little point discussing the evidence for Common Descent or most anything in science when you reject the scientific method.

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  144. The theories you mention are falsifiable relatively easily. Macroevolution is absolutely unfalsifiable, empirically, because exceptions are always allowed.

    Those other theories have passed test after test of predictions ENTAILED in those theories/hypotheses. The macroevolutionary hypothesis has NO entailed predictions we can empirically experience that are not consistent with alternative hypotheses.

    There's this analogical tendency of the human mind to extrapolate inductively by enumeration which EASILY explains the well-nigh universal assent to those theories by those who have evaluated them.

    Nothing we know empirically, however, tells us that mutations produce the magnitude of directional (as opposed to more limited variation on a theme) variation you posit. Analogical extrapolation works for final causes as well as for natural causes. People do both all the time.

    When there are no discriminating tests available, subjective senses of analogical plausibility is all we have. The scientific method can never eliminate that. That's why there are differences of opinion on non-testable hypotheses even amongst experts in the same subject matter. Welcome to the real world.

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  145. Jeff: The theories you mention are falsifiable relatively easily.

    Easy? Galileo couldn't see the Earth move. He inferred it from indirect observations. It took an Einstein to show that atoms were real objects rather than theoretical constructs. And he did it with indirect evidence. The retardation of the pendulum is hardly obvious or direct. And Mendel knew nothing about DNA, but still proposed a valid theory of genetics, just as Darwin proposed a valid theory of evolution lacking knowledge of DNA or even a valid theory of genetics.

    Jeff: Those other theories have passed test after test of predictions ENTAILED in those theories/hypotheses.

    That's right. So you have changed your position on this, is that correct? Because we can't discuss scientific evidence when you are confused on what it means to be scientific evidence.

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  146. Jeff: The theories you mention are falsifiable relatively easily.

    Zachriel: Easy? Galileo couldn't see the Earth move.

    Jeff: There were problems to be sure. And there were dissenters.

    Zachriel: It took an Einstein to show that atoms were real objects rather than theoretical constructs.

    Jeff: Average human beings hold to a very common-sensical metaphysic. To the extent that there was no way to account for matter as being solid where it wasn't, a MODEL that explains the observations is all one can infer.

    Zachriel: The retardation of the pendulum is hardly obvious or direct.

    Jeff: It either was an entailed prediction or it wasn't. It either was possible to test it (i.e., falsify it) or it wasn't. No hard logic here.

    Zachriel: And Mendel knew nothing about DNA, but still proposed a valid theory of genetics,

    Jeff: Mendel's hypothesis had entailed empirical predictions that humans could actually be empirically experienced by humans. And what were the contending analogical inferences as to the explanation of those same phenomena at the time? How consistent were empirical observations with those competing hypotheses, in comparison?
    Zachriel: just as Darwin proposed a valid theory of evolution lacking knowledge of DNA or even a valid theory of genetics.

    Jeff: There is no empirical prediction entailed in the general hypothesis of macroevolution, much less that humans can empirically experience. There are plenty of empirical predictions that you predict based on your more specific hypothetical thinking as to HOW, more specifically, certain transitions occurred. But they are either not empirically experiencable by humans or are not indicative of the failure of alternative hypotheses. Moreover, plenty of such predictions have failed. That never falsified the general hypothesis. Macroevolutionists just go back to the drawing board. Because macroevolution is accepted as being true for metaphysical reasons. Dr. Hunter has documented this thoroughly.

    Jeff: Those other theories have passed test after test of predictions ENTAILED in those theories/hypotheses.

    Zachriel: That's right. So you have changed your position on this, is that correct? Because we can't discuss scientific evidence when you are confused on what it means to be scientific evidence.

    Jeff: You're the one confused. You think because an empirical prediction is entailed in an hypothesis that it has some inherent value whether or not there is any experiment we can do to EXPERIENCE that predicted empiricism. That's utterly assinine. I'll assume whatever definitions you want. But by your definition, the hypothesis that common descent goes all the way down is not a scientific hypothesis. And it is ABSOLUTELY unfalsifiable, empirically.

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  147. Jeff: It either was an entailed prediction or it wasn't. It either was possible to test it (i.e., falsify it) or it wasn't. No hard logic here.

    Your original statement was "But hypotheses are not known to be true SCIENTIFICALLY until the empirical predictions entailed in those hypotheses are confirmed EMPIRICALLY in a non-circumstantial way" is simply false. Many of the most important scientific discoveries were made through indirect, circumstantial evidence.

    Jeff: You think because an empirical prediction is entailed in an hypothesis that it has some inherent value whether or not there is any experiment we can do to EXPERIENCE that predicted empiricism. That's utterly assinine.

    That shows the depth of your confusion. Every example given was based on an empirical observation. Brownian Motion is an observed phenomena, but not an observation of atoms. Mendel observed pea traits and determined the existence of discrete factors, but he could not observe the molecular basis of genes. Halley observed the retardation of the pendulum, but did not observe the rotation of the Earth.

    Each claim, that the Earth moved, that heredity is comprised of discrete factors, that atoms had physical existence, was supported through indirect, circumstantial evidence. None were directly observed.

    Until you resolve your confusion on this point, that the Earth really does move, more complex scientific issues will remain beyond reasonable discussion.

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  148. Zachriel: Your original statement was "But hypotheses are not known to be true SCIENTIFICALLY until the empirical predictions entailed in those hypotheses are confirmed EMPIRICALLY in a non-circumstantial way" is simply false. Many of the most important scientific discoveries were made through indirect, circumstantial evidence.

    Jeff: Define what you mean by circumstantial evidence.


    Jeff: You think because an empirical prediction is entailed in an hypothesis that it has some inherent value whether or not there is any experiment we can do to EXPERIENCE that predicted empiricism. That's utterly assinine.


    Zachriel: That shows the depth of your confusion.

    Jeff: Wrong. If you think that simply because empirical predictions are entailed in an hypothesis that it still has some greater value than an hypothesis which has no entailed empirical prediction, EVEN WHEN the entailed empirical predictions of the former are not subject to human experience, you have completely abandoned reason for bald pontification.


    Zachriel: Until you resolve your confusion ... that the Earth really does move...

    Jeff: Huh?????? Anyone who could infer that I'm arguing against a non-stationary earth from what I've said in this thread could find any arbitrary claim plausible. What nonsense.

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  149. Jeff: Define what you mean by circumstantial evidence.

    *You* introduced the term, so we would assume you meant the standard definition. Circumstantial evidence is also known as indirect evidence; the opposite is direct evidence. So the Einstein's explanation of Brownian Motion is indirect evidence of the physical existence of atoms. He couldn't observe atoms. He showed their existence indirectly.

    Jeff: If you think that simply because empirical predictions are entailed in an hypothesis that it still has some greater value than an hypothesis which has no entailed empirical prediction, EVEN WHEN the entailed empirical predictions of the former are not subject to human experience, you have completely abandoned reason for bald pontification.

    Please quit misrepresenting our position. Every example included an empirical verification. And each historical example was originally supported by a number of circumstantial, indirect entailments.

    Jeff: Anyone who could infer that I'm arguing against a non-stationary earth from what I've said in this thread could find any arbitrary claim plausible.

    When you said, "But hypotheses are not known to be true SCIENTIFICALLY until the empirical predictions entailed in those hypotheses are confirmed EMPIRICALLY in a non-circumstantial way, you were saying that Galileo couldn't reasonably marshall evidence for the Earth's motion, or Mendel his theory of genetics, or Einstein's argument for the physical existence of atoms. Many, if not most, of the great scientific discoveries in history were based on indirect, circumstantial evidence.

    That shows a misunderstanding of the scientific method. You need to explicitly correct this before we proceed.

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  150. Zachriel: Circumstantial evidence is also known as indirect evidence; the opposite is direct evidence.

    Jeff: I'm emphasizing this sense of the term: "One example of circumstantial evidence is the behavior of a person around the time of an alleged offense. If someone was charged with theft of money and was then seen in a shopping spree purchasing expensive items, the shopping spree might be circumstantial evidence of the individual's guilt." IOW, circumstantial evidence exists when data is consistent with multiple hypotheses. There is NO data that is inconsistent with certain ID hypotheses. And your hypothesis has no empirical predictions entailed in it.


    Zachriel: Please quit misrepresenting our position. Every example included an empirical verification.

    Jeff: That was exactly my point. The hypothesis of common descent all the way down has no empirical predictions entailed in it. It's too general. Thus, it is not testable in any sense. You have to make additional hypotheses to move to a doable degree of specificity. So give me your additional hypothesis(es), and tell me what empirical prediction is entailed in it (them).

    Zachriel: You need to explicitly correct this before we proceed.

    Jeff: Unfortunately, I'm the only one that understands what it means for a prediction to be ENTAILED in an hypothesis. For there is no such entailment in the hypothesis that common descent goes all the way down. It's too general of a hypothesis. Those other hypotheses DID have SPECIFIC empirical predictions entailed in them--which we could actually test--else they aren't scientific either, by your definition. But you're right. There is no sense in proceeding if you're not man enough to own up to this state of affairs.

    Your hypothesis is NOT a scientific hypothesis by your own definition. That's why philosophers of science couldn't care less what you think. They know people like you don't bother to think these things through. They do.

    They're no more comfortable with the results of their analysis than you are. They're just more intellectually honest about the situation. Personally, I'm fine with your demarcation criteria AND it's implications for the hypothesis of common descent all the way down.

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  151. Jeff: IOW, circumstantial evidence exists when data is consistent with multiple hypotheses.

    Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence that is entailed in a hypothesis, and may or may not be consistent with other proposed hypotheses. That's why scientific support may require more than one type of test.

    Jeff: But hypotheses are not known to be true SCIENTIFICALLY until the empirical predictions entailed in those hypotheses are confirmed EMPIRICALLY in a non-circumstantial way.

    But your statement is still wrong. We *can* build a scientific case from circumstantial evidence. In fact, many of the great discoveries were developed through indirect means. Halley did it. Mendel did it. Einstein did it.

    Instead of sidestepping the issue, you might take a particular case, such as Einstein's explanation of Brownian Motion and explain why this circumstantial case is not scientific support for the Atomic Hypothesis.

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  152. Zachriel: Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence that is entailed in a hypothesis, and may or may not be consistent with other proposed hypotheses.

    Jeff: By circumstantial evidence, I was only meaning data that is consistent with opposing hypotheses that are each bona-fide analogical inferences.

    Zachiel: But your statement is still wrong. We *can* build a scientific case from circumstantial evidence.

    Jeff: By the way you're using the word "circumstantial," you're right. By the way I was, it depends.

    But none of this changes the fact that the hypothesis of common descent all the way down is NOT a scientific hypothesis by your own definition.

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  153. Jeff: By circumstantial evidence, I was only meaning data that is consistent with opposing hypotheses ...

    That's often the case.

    Jeff: By the way you're using the word "circumstantial," you're right. By the way I was, it depends.

    By your own definition, you were wrong. To avoid the problem of multiple consistent hypotheses, a circumstantial case involves various pieces of independently acquired evidence, each testing some aspect or other of the competing theories.

    Jeff: But none of this changes the fact that the hypothesis of common descent all the way down is NOT a scientific hypothesis by your own definition.

    Of course it is. If we posit that diverged along uncrossed lines, they should form a nested hierarchy. The hypothesis has to be modified for convergence and hybridization. This hypothesis is strongly supported.

    Did you know that the Earth does not travel in an elliptical orbit? Does that falsify the Theory of Gravity?

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  154. Jeff: By the way you're using the word "circumstantial," you're right. By the way I was, it depends.


    Zachriel: By your own definition, you were wrong. To avoid the problem of multiple consistent hypotheses, a circumstantial case involves various pieces of independently acquired evidence, each testing some aspect or other of the competing theories.

    Jeff: No, you're wrong in this case. There is NO empirical data that contradicts certain ID hypotheses. And the general macroevolutionary hypothesis is ABSOLUTELY unfalsifiable because it's so general that there are NO entailed empirical predictions therein.


    Jeff: But none of this changes the fact that the hypothesis of common descent all the way down is NOT a scientific hypothesis by your own definition.


    Zachriel: Of course it is. If we posit that diverged along uncrossed lines, they should form a nested hierarchy. The hypothesis has to be modified for convergence and hybridization.

    Jeff: There is only one reason to modif ythe hypothesis--because it was falsified in its original, simpler form. So now state CLEARLY this newer, modified hypothesis and let's look at the empirical predictions ENTAILED in it. You will find that, again, it predicts nothing we can test. You're confusing an hypothesis with empirical data. Data is not an hypothesis.

    Zachriel: This hypothesis is strongly supported.

    Jeff: Define "supported."


    Zachriel: Did you know that the Earth does not travel in an elliptical orbit? Does that falsify the Theory of Gravity?

    Jeff: No, it doesn't. The math either works or not, regardless of the specific motion.

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  155. Zachriel: By your own definition, you were wrong. To avoid the problem of multiple consistent hypotheses, a circumstantial case involves various pieces of independently acquired evidence, each testing some aspect or other of the competing theories.

    Jeff: No, you're wrong in this case.

    We're not discussing a specific case, but your claim that we can't verify scientific claims through circumstantial evidence. This is not correct. Many important scientific discoveries are made through circumstantial evidence.

    You need reach some awareness of this basic aspect of the scientific method before we proceed to the specific case.

    Jeff: There is only one reason to modif ythe hypothesis--because it was falsified in its original, simpler form.

    The simpler hypothesis, that the Earth travels in an elliptical orbit is falsified.

    Zachriel: Did you know that the Earth does not travel in an elliptical orbit? Does that falsify the Theory of Gravity?

    Jeff: No, it doesn't. The math either works or not, regardless of the specific motion.

    Newton's Laws work fine for describing Earth's orbit. It's not an ellipse. Why is that?

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  156. Zachriel: We're not discussing a specific case, but your claim that we can't verify scientific claims through circumstantial evidence. This is not correct. Many important scientific discoveries are made through circumstantial evidence.

    Jeff: I agree. It's when ALL the data is consistent with mutually-exclusive hypotheses that the data is not decisive evidence for either one. That is the case with respect to ID hypotheses vs. the macroevolutionary hypothesis. This is so because while the respective hypotheses are mutually-exclusive, they don't attempt to explain the same effects. ID hypotheses are positing explanations for EXISTING configurations of matter. The macroevolutionary hypothesis posits an explanation for non-observed, hypothetical events/configurations of matter.

    Zachriel: You need reach some awareness of this basic aspect of the scientific method before we proceed to the specific case.

    Jeff: Blast away. It doesn't change the fact that you have no hypothesis with respect to biological origins that entails an empirical prediction.

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  157. You're views on science really all get down to you're view that a scientific hypothesis is one that entails empirical predictions that can be experienced by humans. All else follows from this. The problem is that with respect to macroevolution, you don't have such a hypothesis.

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  158. Jeff: The macroevolutionary hypothesis posits an explanation for non-observed, hypothetical events/configurations of matter.

    Absolutely wrong.

    Jeff: I agree. It's when ALL the data is consistent with mutually-exclusive hypotheses that the data is not decisive evidence for either one.

    It took nearly a week to reach this point in the discussion. Hypotheses CAN be supported scientifically with circumstantial evidence. As you were wrong on the fundamentals of the scientific method (and seem to be confused on the specifics of evolutionary theory), perhaps this is a good time for you to reflect on your stated position. We may revisit the specific case at a later date.

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  159. Jeff: The macroevolutionary hypothesis posits an explanation for non-observed, hypothetical events/configurations of matter.


    Zachriel: Absolutely wrong.

    Jeff: You either posit that there are hypothetical intermediates that we either haven't or can't discover, or you don't. If you posit the former, you're positing hypothetical events/configurations. Macroevolutionists hypothesize 2 basic propositions:
    1) that biological reproduction is a necessary condition for the origin of all observed and hypothetical (as per the "theory") phenotypes, excepting, of course, the phenotype of the common ancestor, and
    2) that no final causes were involved in the total complex of causes of organisms.

    Now, what are the empirical predictions entailed in those hypotheses that we can run out and experience? Your hypothesis is not a scientific hypothesis by YOUR definition. And I'm FINE with your definition. Philosophers of science don't like it precisely BECAUSE of its implications for the non-scientific status of the evolutionary hypothesis.

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  160. As you were wrong on such a fundamental issue, you might want to reconsider the basis of your views. As said, it took nearly a week to get you to acknowledge a fundamental aspect of the scientific method. That's enough progress for now.

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  161. I have no problem with your definition of a scientific hypothesis. Definitions aren't problems. It's the fact that you aren't consistent with your own definition that is the problem.

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